Steve Gay is an MSc Health Psychology graduate of the University of Derby currently working as a Senior Policy Officer for Public Health & Wellbeing, Government of Jersey. Prior to this Steve worked as an Arrest Referral Worker for Jersey’s Alcohol & Drug Service and as the Substance Misuse Therapist at HMP La Moye. During this time Steve became interested in Adverse Childhood Experiences, health inequalities and problematic substance use which paved the way for his MSc research.
Alongside trauma and addiction Steve has other research interests such as: Novel Psychoactive Substances and drug landscapes, drug use behaviour and behaviour change, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, cannabis-based medicines, and drug policy.
Steve is currently planning a PhD to explore the themes of how trauma influences addiction, the effectiveness of psychedelics in both trauma and addiction treatment and how drug policies can lead to increased health inequalities for who are addicted while simultaneously delaying access to promising (psychedelic) treatments.
The effect of past adverse life experiences within an alcohol treatment service – Insights from an ongoing study
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can lead to increased levels of alcohol use and dependency later in life while I comparison less is known about the role of similar Adverse Adult Experiences (AAEs). This study aims to: 1) Measure prevalence of ACEs and AAEs and 2) Understand their interaction on alcohol use behaviours, detoxification history and other clinical factors within a clinical population.
A cross-sectional survey design was used within a specialist Tier 3 substance misuse service. Participants completed measures on 15 types of retrospective adverse life experiences and past 12months alcohol use behaviours. Further clinical data (number of re-referrals to service, missed appointments and number of past and current other health service involvements) were mined from electronic appointment records and matched to participants prior to analysis.
A high prevalence rate of ACEs and AAEs was found. Those reporting higher rates of adverse life events where found to have higher rates of missed appointments, presented with multiple other health needs and oten needed detoxification. Other secondary findings are also discussed.
Overall a high prevalence of adverse lifetime experiences (ACEs and / or AAEs) were found. Higher rates of adverse life experiences were associated with higher risk alcohol use behaviours, detoxification history and clinical factors which indicate higher complex needs. Implications for treatment services are discussed as well as addiction theory. Study limitations are also discussed along with recruitment problems relevant to those planning similar research.