News and research: December 2021

Each month, the SSA’s Rob Calder and Natalie Davies keep you up-to-date with a...
Created On: 20 December 2021   (Last updated: 20 December 2021)

Each month, the SSA’s Rob Calder and Natalie Davies keep you up-to-date with a summary of the latest addiction research and news. Here’s what they were reading about in December…

Rob Calder (website editor)

Just behind A Christmas Carol, and at the forefront of any good reading list for December 2021, is (of course) the new UK Drug Strategy. In a good piece of timing, there’s also some research out this month about long-acting buprenorphine, which the strategy mentions several times, for example:

“The strategy shows how we’ll keep expanding the provision of the life-saving heroin antidote naloxone to drive down drug-related deaths and explore the rollout of the potentially revolutionary buprenorphine, to drive down drug deaths.”

“We will support local areas to ensure that the additional funding means a full range of evidence-based interventions are available in every area and that the system is responding to new and promising innovations, such as forms of long-acting buprenorphine.”

Other strategy-relevant research includes a study on diversion and partnership working.

Away from the strategy, there is a clinical guide for talking to people about reducing or discontinuing methadone or buprenorphine. The authors recommend questioning whether reduction is the right approach and taking it carefully where people are insistent. They also offer a guide for people who want to facilitate those discussions. Additionally there is a study of pregnancy outcomes among people taking medication for opioid use disorders.

A letter was sent this month to the government in support of drug consumption rooms, and an article has been published about how to optimise their provision.

There are two articles exploring drug use among young people in African countries – one from Ethiopia and one from Nigeria.

There are two interesting studies (1 2) on the impact of COVID on people who use drugs. It is a good time to start unpacking some of this stuff. There will be lots to follow in the coming years, so it could be worth getting ahead of this now.

In vaping there are two interesting papers, one exploring associations between youth vaping and subsequent smoking, and another systematic review of the quality of systematic reviews in this area, which is my kind of article.

Finally, it’s worth a look at papers on the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation, open science in addiction research, and involving people who use drugs in research.

(full reading list below)

Natalie Davies (website content manager)

This month, I read peer-reviewed papers on topics ranging from drinking at sporting events, to changes in alcohol consumption during the transition towards parenthood; from implementation of screening and brief interventions in Emergency Department settings, to preferences for delivery of hepatitis C care among people who inject drugs.

I also came across quite a few new papers on Black populations with substance use problems – highlighting seldom-heard experiences and manifestations of racial inequality in drug and alcohol treatment (1 2 3 4 5 6 7). Among these was a paper by Kathleen Burlew and colleagues, published in Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, which aimed to suggest a way to maximise the potential for research to address racial/ethnic disparities in substance use disorders and substance use treatment. Recommendations included conducting research on treatment issues disproportionately affecting racial/ethnic minorities, increasing access to training grants and research funding for racial/ethnic minority investigators, and infusing the decision-making process with the voices of people in racial/ethnic minority groups.

Following my own work on The Pregnancy Edit in September, I’ve continued to read about all things ‘alcohol-related harm in pregnancy’. This included a paper in Health, Risk & Society about a UK guideline on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). It was a really interesting read in which Ellie Lee and colleagues discussed the implications of ‘routine’ monitoring and screening in pregnancy.

I had the opportunity to attend a lunchtime seminar from the Women and Alcohol Research Cluster on ‘Policing women’s bodies’, and after hearing one of the speakers, Laura Fenton, was motivated to read a blog she co-wrote with colleague Emily Nicholls, titled “‘Women of child-bearing rage’? Gender Equality, the WHO’s Global Action Plan on Alcohol and the Pink PR Machine”. In the blog they talk about how “alcohol consumption continues to be tied up with representations of women’s freedom and liberation”.

(full reading list below)

Rob’s reading list

Outcomes of a single-arm implementation trial of extended-release subcutaneous buprenorphine depot injections in people with opioid dependence. By Michael Farrell and colleagues. Published in the International Journal of Drug Policy (2021).

Experiences with the Philadelphia police assisted diversion program: a qualitative study. B Evan Anderson and colleagues. Published in the International Journal of Drug Policy (2021).

Stakeholder preferences for supervised consumption site design, staff, and ancillary services: a scoping review of feasibility studies. B David T. Kryszajtys. Published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2021).

Discontinuing methadone and buprenorphine: a review and clinical challenges. By Joan E. Zweben and colleagues. Published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine (2021).

Outcomes associated with the use of medications for opioid use disorder during pregnancy. By Elizabeth E. Krans and colleagues. Published in Addiction (2021).

Why are youth engaged in substance use? a qualitative study exploring substance use and risk factors among the youth of Jimmy Town, Southwest Ethiopia. By T.A. Geleta. Published in Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation (2021).

Cannabis use motivations: a study of young adults in Nigeria. By Emeka W. Dumbili and colleagues. Published in Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy (2021).

The impact of COVID-19 on people who inject drugs in New York City: increased risk and decreased access to services. By Yesenia Aponte-Melendez and colleagues. Published in the Ham Reduction Journal (2021).

The impact of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on drug overdose-related deaths in the United States and Canada: a systematic review of observational studies and analysis of public health surveillance data. By Sameer Imtiaz and colleagues. Published in Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy (2021).

Is e-cigarette use in non-smoking young adults associated with later smoking? A systematic review and meta-analysis. By Jasmine N. Khouja and colleagues. Published in Tobacco Control (2021).

Reporting and methodological quality of systematic literature reviews evaluating the associations between e-cigarette use and cigarette smoking behaviors: a systematic quality review. By Mimi M. Kim and colleagues. Published in the Ham Reduction Journal (2021).

A narrative review on environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation. By Zhonghua Zheng and colleagues. Published in the Journal of Cannabis Research (2021).

Assessing open science and citizen science in addictions and substance use research: A scoping review. By Florian Scheibein and colleagues. Published in the International Journal of Drug Policy (2021).

Research led by people who use drugs: centering the expertise of lived experience. By Zach R. Salazar and colleagues. Published in Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy (2021).

Natalie’s reading list

Effects of a multi-component alcohol prevention intervention at sporting events: a quasi-experimental control group study. By Tobias H. Elgán and colleagues. Published in Addiction (2021).

Changes in alcohol consumption during pregnancy and over the transition towards parenthood. By Geoffrey Leggat and colleagues. Published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2021).

An Ethnographic study of unhealthy alcohol use in a Danish Emergency Department. By Ditte Maria Sivertsen and colleagues. Published in Addiction Science & Clinical Practice (2021).

Culturally adapted evidence-based treatments for adults with substance use problems: A systematic review and meta-analysis. By Audrey Hang Hai and colleagues. Published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2021).

Racial/ethnic disparities in the use of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and their effects on residential drug treatment outcomes in the US. By Gerald J. Stahler and colleagues. Published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2021).

Racial inequity in medication treatment for opioid use disorder: Exploring potential facilitators and barriers to use. By Mara A.G. Hollander and colleagues. Published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2021).

Prospective associations of discrimination, race, and sexual orientation with substance use in adolescents. By Amelia V. Wedel and colleagues. Published in Substance Use & Misuse (2021).

Not just service attendance: associations of religious community social connections with alcohol use among Black adults header: religious community social connections and alcohol use among Black adults. By Carolyn E. Sartor and colleague. Published in Substance Use & Misuse (2021).

Racial discrimination and hazardous drinking among black drinkers: the role of social anxiety in the minority stress model. By Julia D. Buckner and colleagues. Published in Substance Use & Misuse (2021).

Racial/ethnic equity in substance use treatment research: the way forward. By Kathleen Burlew and colleagues. Published in Addiction Science & Clinical Practice (2021).

Beyond ‘the choice to drink’ in a UK guideline on FASD: the precautionary principle, pregnancy surveillance, and the managed woman. By Ellie Lee and colleagues. Published in Health, Risk & Society (2021).

‘Women of child-bearing rage’? Gender Equality, the WHO’s Global Action Plan on Alcohol and the Pink PR Machine. By Laura Fenton and colleague. Published by BSA Everyday Society (2021).


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