Responding to complex needs of young people who access substance use services in the criminal justice system

In this blog, Dr Helen Gleeson offers interesting insights on the needs of young people with a have a history of substance use who come into contact with the criminal justice system in the UK. Curious? Read on.

In the UK, many young people who come into contact with the criminal justice system have some history of substance use. Most of these young people will be ordered by the police or the courts to attend a mandatory substance use program as part of their sentence or caution. Unsurprisingly, it can be difficult to engage this group in a program that they are attending in order to avoid criminal sanctions (e.g. a custodial sentence). As part of the EPPIC (Exchanging Prevention practices on Polydrug use among youth In Criminal justice systems) project, research teams have been collecting qualitative interview data from young people and professionals in substance use intervention and criminal justice settings in six European countries (UK, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Austria). In the UK, I was part of a research team that interviewed 38 young people and 25 professionals from youth offending teams (YOTs), community services, children’s services and third sector organisations who offer substance use services to young people both in and outside of the criminal justice system. Continue reading

Policy reform towards implementing harm reduction in Nigeria

In this blog, Adebisi Yusuff Adebayo takes a critical look at the implementation of harm reduction measures to address the health risks related to injection drug use in Nigeria.

Despite the fact that there are numerous strong global proofs that support harm reduction strategies1,2, the coverage, adoption and implementation for people who inject drugs (PWID) is poor and Nigeria is not an exception to this. PWID constitute a considerable quota of people at-risk in Nigeria and 20% of people who use drugs are injecting drugs3. It has been reported that the most common drugs injected were pharmaceutical opioids, followed by cocaine and heroin. In Nigeria, the level of risky injecting practices and risky sexual behaviors among PWID is worrisome3. Particularly, women who inject drugs are more prone to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors compared to the male counterpart which further catalyze their risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV among other infections. This problem is doubly compounded by the criminalization of drug use and the non-adoption of evidence-based harm reduction strategies in the country. Continue reading

  1. Degenhardt, L., Mathers, B., Vickerman, P., Rhodes, T., Latkin, C., & Hickman, M. (2010). Prevention of HIV infection for people who inject drugs: Why individual, structural and combination approaches are needed. Lancet; 376:285–301. []
  2. MacArthur, G., Minozzi, S., Martin, N., Vickerman, P., Deren, S., Bruneau, J., et al. (2012). Opiate substitution treatment and HIV transmission in people who inject drugs: Systematic review and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal; 345:e5945. []
  3. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2018). Drug use in Nigeria 2018. Available from http://www.unodc.org/documents/nigeria//Drug_Use_Survey_Nigeria_2019_BOOK.pdf. Accessed: 10/08/2019 []

Embracing a cultural perspective into Prevention Science

In this blog, Dr Giovanni Aresi will discuss some reasons why adopting a cultural perspective is important for prevention scientists.

The 2018 conference was the first time I came in contact with the European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR). As I have done (so far) little in terms of preventive intervention development, implementation and evaluation, I was actually unsure whether or not my work on alcohol drinking cultures (i.e., schema of beliefs, practices, and values maintained by a cultural group or society regarding alcohol use) would fit into the scope of the EUSPR. I was therefore very surprised when I learnt that I was awarded the 2018 early career award for outstanding promise based on poster presentation. On second thought, in a socio-ecological perspective, culture is an important level of influence to health outcomes, and therefore needs to be taken into consideration during all stages of intervention. This makes culture an important object of interest for EUSPR members. Continue reading

Thinking about prevention through the lens of “everyday spaces”

At the beginning of her academic life, Angelina Brotherhood was an urban sociologist, and this perspective still informs her work as a prevention researcher. In this blog, she presents emerging findings from her doctoral research and a possible dilemma she might soon face. Intrigued? Read on.

My doctoral research focuses on how people think about spaces in their everyday life, and how those ways of thinking relate to their substance use in those spaces. To generate data, I conducted interviews with 24 female students aged 18-26 years at the University of Vienna who reported alcohol and/or cigarette use in the last 3 months, but no use of illicit substances in the last 12 months. Continue reading

Update on the conscious clubbing collaboration

Dr Emma L Davies is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Oxford Brookes University, UK.  In this article, she updates us on a project that started as a result of a post on this blog. On the 22nd June 2016, I published a post on this blog called ‘Reflections on sober raving: alcohol free fun for further research? This post is about what happened next.

The post that started it all

The original post was about alcohol-free events that involve music and dancing, often described as ‘sober raves’ or ‘conscious-clubbing’ events. At conscious-clubbing events, the experiences are enjoyed without alcohol and other drugs. The term conscious-clubbing puts this kind of event in opposition to clubs and festivals where alcohol and other drugs are used to enhance experiences and interactions between people. A wide range of different types of events can be considered ‘conscious-clubbing’ and people have enjoyed these for many years for spiritual reasons and to improve wellness.  However, our current focus was on early morning raves, and evening events that might appeal to a student population. Continue reading

My first experiences in alcohol use research: recommendations for early career researchers

In this article, Joella shares her first experiences of working as a research assistant on a research placement at the University of Balearic Islands alongside the Research Group in Data Analysis.The project that Joella is currently working on focuses on young people’s alcohol use, specifically in the psychosocial evaluation of alcohol use in young people of Palma de Mallorca. This evaluation includes the assessment of risky alcohol use, attitudes towards alcohol use and socioeconomic status. Joella’s role in this study is to coordinate and implement data collection. It is hoped that throughout the placement Joella will gain essential research and project management skills that will help her pursue a PhD in prevention research. Joella concludes with some key recommendations for other early career researchers who are trying to gain experience in their field.

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International Drug Control vs. Preventing Harm from Substance Use in Afghanistan

In this month’s blog post, Abdul Subor Momand and Larissa J. Maier provide a perspective on current drug policy developments in Afghanistan and emphasize how these impact prevention efforts in the country. The authors will explore what it needs to tackle substance use among youth and people with substance use disorders during times of political instability and nationwide grief.

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Come on let’s TWIST again! Early Career Bursaries @LxAddictions 2017

In this post, Dijana Jerković and Larissa J. Maier share their experiences of securing funding through the TWIST project, in order to attend LxAddictions 2017. The aim is to describe the TWIST training and the application process to support other early career researchers who may want to contribute to the upcoming third conference in 2019.

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The challenge of recruiting licensed premises to host prevention research

In September 2016, I embarked on my journey to a doctorate at Oxford Brookes University. Still enraptured having been awarded a studentship, I felt invincible; my study was going to be a trail blazer. Fuelled by temerity, I dismissed suggestions of hurdles, barriers, and walls I would have to climb. After all, my tenacity would enable me to leap higher, push harder and offer a leg-up to propel me over those walls. Oh the innocence!

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Informing prevention through big data – The Global Drug Survey

This month’s blog post comes from Larissa Maier, who is voluntarily involved in the Global Drug Survey (GDS) besides her actual job, believing that this engagement can make a difference. In this blog post, she describes how she joined the GDS and shares the very first results from the GDS2017. She concludes with her view on how these results relate to global drug prevention. 

Most early career researchers start their careers by focusing on one main research question to become an expert in that specific area of research. In my case, my PhD studies addressed the prevalence and patterns of substance use for cognitive enhancement. However, after having developed a questionnaire on recreational drug use in Swiss nightlife settings as part of my master thesis, I remained connected to the Swiss projects aimed at early detection of harmful substance use. Having been a regular clubber myself back then, I could link my personal observations in the field to the data derived from the questionnaires. My knowledge about local and national drug use habits of recreational drug users increased sharply. A logical next step was joining the Global Drug Survey (GDS) to understand the superior picture and to put my findings into context. In this blog post, I will tell you more about how I became a member of the GDS Core Research Team and how our findings contribute to the prevention of harmful substance use among youth and adults across the world. Continue reading