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  • The National Drug-Related Deaths Database (Scotland) Report: Analysis of Deaths occurring in 2012

    Posted on March 25th, 2014 TimB No comments

    This is the fourth report from the National Drug-Related Deaths Database (NDRDD) for Scotland which presents data for the calendar year 2012 and trend data back to 2009. The NDRDD was established to collect detailed information regarding the nature and social circumstances of individuals who have died a drug-related death. This report analyses a cohort of drug-related deaths in Scotland already reported by the National Records of Scotland (NRS), formerly known as the General Register Office for Scotland.
    The NRS and NDRDD gather their information separately but since both sets of data concern drug-related deaths in Scotland, there is a great deal of overlap and therefore it is useful to draw comparisons. The NRS have identified an upward trend in drug-related deaths in Scotland since 1997 [1]; the NDRDD reports have sought to contextualise these deaths in relation to the social circumstances of the deceased. Dissemination of NDRDD findings informs policymakers and practitioners as to the potential for harm reduction and therapeutic interventions to reduce drug-related deaths in Scotland.


  • EMCDDA Regional drug strategies across the world

    Posted on March 25th, 2014 TimB No comments

    This paper offers a comparison of the drug strategies and plans adopted over the last five years by six intergovernmental organisations engaging 148 countries in four continents. It informs decision-makers, professionals and researchers working in the area of international drug policy about the way in which countries of the same region have decided to strategically approach drug-related security, social and health problems.



  • UNODC Scientific Consultation “Science addressing drugs and HIV: State of the Art” A Consensus Statement

    Posted on March 13th, 2014 TimB No comments

    As the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) conducts its high-level review of the implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action, there remains a significant discrepancy between what science has shown actually works, and what in reality is being implemented in countries most affected by HIV and hepatitis C epidemics driven by unsafe injecting drug use.
    It is estimated that, of the estimated 13 (9-22) million people who inject drugs worldwide, 13% are living with HIV and more than 60% live with the hepatitis C virus with large regional variation. As long as effective measures to reduce drug consumption and unsafe injection are not implemented, HIV and hepatitis C virus will continue to spread among people who inject drugs and ultimately to their partners and to society in general.

    The HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C epidemics as these relate to injecting drug use is of particular concern in Eastern Europe and central Asia and throughout the rest of the Asian region.



  • Report – Drug-related deaths in the UK

    Posted on February 12th, 2014 TimB No comments

    This thirteenth annual report from the national programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (np-SAD)  presents information on drug-related deaths that occurred during 2011 and for which coronial inquests  and similar formal investigations have been completed. The Programme’s principal function is to provide  high-quality and consistent surveillance, and to detect and identify emerging trends and issues in respect  of this phenomenon. In this way, it contributes to the reduction and prevention of drug-related deaths in
    the UK due to the misuse of both licit and illicit drugs.

    The data and analysis in this report is intended to inform government, and relevant bodies, such as the  Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and authorities at the local, regional, and national country  levels, as well as health professionals and the general public, about the serious consequences of drug  abuse.



  • Drug Related Deaths

    Posted on January 27th, 2014 TimB No comments



    In the eight-year period 2004–2011 a total of 4,606 deaths by drug poisoning and deaths among drug users met the criteria for inclusion in the NDRDI database. Of these deaths, 2,745 were due to poisoning and 1,861 were deaths among drug users (non-poisoning) (Table 1).

    The annual number of deaths in 2011 increased to 607, compared to 597 in 2010. The 2011 figure is likely to be revised when new data become available (Table 1)




  • Groin injecting among a community-recruited sample of people who inject drugs in Thailand

    Posted on January 17th, 2014 TimB No comments

    Use of the femoral vein for the injection of illicit drugs (i.e. groin injecting) has been linked to various health-related harms, including deep vein thrombosis. However, little is known about the prevalence of groin injecting and factors that predict this practice among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Thailand. The researchers sought to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with groin injecting in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Over one-third of our sample of Thai PWID reported recent groin injecting. Frequent midazolam injection and higher education were found to be associated with groin injecting. That high intensity drug users were more likely to inject in the groin is concerning given the known negative consequences associated with the groin as a site of injection. Additionally, PWID who reported drug planting by police were more likely to inject in the groin, suggesting that reliance on law enforcement approaches may undermine safe injection practices in this setting. These findings highlight the need for evidence-based interventions to address the harms associated with groin injecting including efforts to alert PWID to risks of groin injecting, the distribution of appropriate injecting equipment, and efforts to encourage use of other injecting sites.



  • Barriers and facilitators of hepatitis C screening among people who inject drugs: a multi-city, mixed-methods study

    Posted on January 16th, 2014 TimB No comments

    People who inject drugs (PWID) are at high risk of contracting and transmitting and hepatitis C virus (HCV). While accurate screening tests and effective treatment are increasingly available, prior research indicates that many PWID are unaware of their HCV status.

    The  results suggest that drug-injecting individuals who reside in non-urban settings, who have poor access to primary care, or who have less education may encounter significant barriers to routine HCV screening. Expanded access to primary health care and prevention services, especially in non-urban areas, could address an unmet need for individuals at high risk for HCV.


  • Report on the current state of play of the 2003 Council Recommendation on the prevention and reduction of health-related harm, associated with drug dependence, in the EU and candidate countries

    Posted on January 13th, 2014 TimB No comments

    The report on the current state of play of the Council Recommendation of 18 June 2003 on the prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug dependence has been finalised. The report results of the work of experts from Gesundheit Österreich Forschungs- und Planungs GmbH and SOGETI, in close collaboration with EAHC, EMCDDA, DG SANCO, and DG JUST.

    It presents the updated overview of the implementation of the Council Recommendation in the EU countries and several candidate countries, including country profiles, as well as analyses of epidemiological trends. The study also assesses the availability of – access to- and -coverage of- harm reduction measures based on the answers to a policy survey and a survey among field organisations.

    The available scientific evidence regarding interventions to prevent and reduce health-harms associated with drug dependence was analysed and in addition four systematic Literature Reviews (peer naloxone programs, prison release management, needle exchange in prison, measures to change the route of administration) were produced. Finally, the report provides country overviews on harm reduction policies, services and facilities.

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  • Editors Choice ‘Silk Road’, the virtual drug marketplace: A single case study of user experiences

    Posted on December 18th, 2013 TimB No comments

    The online promotion of ‘drug shopping’ and user information networks is of increasing public health and law enforcement concern. An online drug marketplace called ‘Silk Road’ has been operating on the ‘Deep Web’ since February 2011 and was designed to revolutionise contemporary drug consumerism.

    Methods: A single case study approach explored a ‘Silk Road’ user’s motives for online drug purchasing, experiences of accessing and using the website, drug information sourcing, decision making and purchasing, outcomes and settings for use, and perspectives around security.

    The participant was recruited following a lengthy relationship building phase on the ‘Silk Road’ chat forum. Results: The male participant described his motives, experiences of purchasing processes and drugs used from ‘Silk Road’. Consumer experiences on ‘Silk Road’ were described as ‘euphoric’ due to the wide choice of drugs available, relatively easy once navigating the Tor Browser (encryption software) and using ‘Bitcoins’ for transactions, and perceived as safer than negotiating illicit drug markets. Online researching of drug outcomes, particularly for new psychoactive substances was reported. Relationships between vendors and consumers were described as based on cyber levels of trust and professionalism, and supported by ‘stealth modes’, user feedback and resolution modes. The reality of his drug use was described as covert and solitary with psychonautic characteristics, which contrasted with his membership, participation and feelings of safety within the ‘Silk Road’ community.

    Conclusion: ‘Silk Road’ as online drug marketplace presents an interesting displacement away from ‘traditional’ online and street sources of drug supply. Member support and harm reduction ethos within this virtual community maximises consumer decision-making and positive drug experiences, and minimises potential harms and consumer perceived risks. Future research is necessary to explore experiences and backgrounds of other users.


  • HSE National Service Plan 2014

    Posted on December 18th, 2013 TimB No comments

    Social Inclusion plays a key role in supporting equity of access to services and provides targeted interventions to improve the health outcomes of minority groups which encompass Irish Travellers, Roma, and other members of divers ethnic and cultural groups, such as asylum seekers, refugees and migrants, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service users.

    Specific interventions are provided to address addiction issues, homelessness and medical complexities. Members of
    these groups characteristically present with a complex range of health and support needs which require multi-agency
    and multi-faceted interventions. The Health Service promotes and leads on integrated approaches on different levels
    across statutory and voluntary sectors. A critical success factor is the continued development of integrated care
    planning and case management approaches between all relevant agencies and service providers.

    Key Priorities with Actions to Deliver in 2014

    • Achieve improved health outcomes for persons with addiction issues.
    • Deliver on the national policy objectives of the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016, with specific reference
    • to progressing implementation of relevant actions on early intervention, treatment and rehabilitation.
    • Implement recommendations from Health Service Opioid Treatment Protocol.
    • Implement recommendations of Tier 4 (Residential Addiction Services Report) within the context of available resources.
    • Evaluate the Pharmacy Needle Exchange Programme and make recommendations.
    • Finalise the implementation plan for the National Overdose Prevention Strategy.
    • Prioritise and implement Health Service actions in the Report of the Steering Group on a National Substance
    • Misuse Strategy.
    • Implement recommendations of the National Hepatitis C Strategy according to updated time frames and in line with existing resource constraints.
    • Implement the specific health aspects of a housing-led approach to homelessness in line with the new National Homelessness Policy Statement.
    • Improve access to services for people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds within the context of the
    • Health Service National Intercultural Health Strategy.
    • Improve health outcomes for members of the Traveller Community in line with the All-Ireland Traveller Health Study


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