Tricia McQuarrie is a mixed methods researcher at Middlesex University. She holds a BSc in Psychology from De Montford University and an MSc in Addiction Studies from KCL. She has a special interest in the treatment of mental health and addictions alongside clinical skills from practicing in these fields. Tricia was part of the evaluation team at Brunel University evaluating the Family Drug and Alcohol Court which aims to tackle the widespread problem of parental substance misuse in care proceedings. She has worked at Lancaster University where she was part of the Centre for Child and Family Justice, here she contributed to a range of projects; vulnerable birth mothers and recurrent care proceedings, fathers experiences and the effectiveness of legal orders. At Middlesex Tricia is a member of the Drug and Alcohol Research Centre where she works on a variety of cutting-edge research projects including rapid evidence and systematic reviews.
Community based interventions for problematic substance use in later life: A systematic review of evaluated studies and their outcomes
Problematic substance use (PSU) in later life is a growing global problem of significant concern in tandem with a rapidly ageing global population. Prevention and interventions specifically designed for older people are not common, and those designed for mixed-age groups may fail to address the unique and sometimes complex needs of ageing communities. We report findings from a systematic review of the empirical evidence from studies which formally evaluated interventions used with older people and reported their outcomes. Nineteen studies were included, of which thirteen focused solely on alcohol-related problems. Most interventions (eight) utilised different types of screening, brief advice and education. The remaining drew on behavioural, narrative and integrated or multi-disciplinary approaches which aimed to meet people’s needs holistically. Quality assessment of study design helped to review evaluation practice. Recommendations are for more sustainable and well-designed intervention strategies for PSU in later life, which purposefully align with other areas of health and wellbeing and are delivered in locations where older people normally seek, or receive, help. Further scope for engagement with people’s own perspectives on their needs, and help-seeking, and for economic evaluation of the outcome of interventions could establish the value of investing in targeted services to this underserved population.