Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit

South Africa

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit

South Africa
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Morojele N.K.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit | Saban A.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit | Seedat S.,Stellenbosch University
Current Opinion in Psychiatry | Year: 2012

Purpose of Review: The co-occurrence of mental disorders and substance use disorders (SUDs) is very common, and associated with substantial psychiatric morbidity, functional and quality of life impairments, and societal costs. However, dual disorders are often underdetected, misdiagnosed and inadequately treated in both substance abuse and mental health settings. Recent Findings: Individuals with dual or multiple disorders generally have worse clinical features and long-term outcomes than those with single disorders. However, findings can vary depending on factors such as type(s) of psychiatric disorder(s) and substance(s) involved, and whether the mental disorder is primary or secondary, or substance-induced or independent. Underdiagnosis or misdiagnosis of dual disorders may occur due, in part, to the use of measurement instruments and diagnostic approaches that have uncertain clinical utility. Summary: Routine, thorough, and integrated screening and diagnosis of dual disorders are needed to facilitate implementation of appropriate treatment. Results suggest that forthcoming revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and International Classification of Diseases should categorize and define mental and SUDs such that clinicians can more readily detect and diagnose all types of substance use and mental health comorbid conditions. Adoption and widespread use of appropriate screening, assessment and diagnostic instruments, and more thorough diagnostic (clinimetric) approaches are recommended. © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Russell B.S.,University of Connecticut | Eaton L.A.,University of Connecticut | Petersen-Williams P.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit
Current HIV/AIDS Reports | Year: 2013

A critical factor for understanding negative health outcomes is acknowledging the synergistic quality that clusters of health problems create. An important step in addressing clusters of health problems involves gaining an awareness of the contextual factors that connect them. This paper considers the intersection of 3 mutually reinforcing health problems: alcohol use, interpersonal violence (IPV), and HIV infection among pregnant women residing in South Africa. We explore how SAVA (substance abuse, violence and AIDS) - a syndemics related theory - underscores the dire need to intervene in various areas of psycho-social health and general well-being. Based on World Health Organization data, we highlight the remarkably high rates of alcohol use, IPV, and HIV infection among South African women compared with women residing in other countries around the world. We conclude by highlighting the need for improved recognition of the intersection of these epidemics and for improved surveillance of the prevalence of alcohol use among pregnant women. Finally, based on the literature reviewed, we provide recommendations for future interventions. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Morojele N.K.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit | Morojele N.K.,University of Witwatersrand | Kekwaletswe C.T.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit | Nkosi S.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit
AIDS and Behavior | Year: 2014

We examined whether alcohol use is associated with antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence independently of structural and psychosocial factors among 304 male and female ART recipients in ART sites in Tshwane, South Africa. ART adherence was assessed by the CASE Adherence Index. Independent variables were demographic, structural, psycho-social, and alcohol use (AUDIT score) factors. In hierarchical multiple regression, demographic variables (Step 1) explained 4 % of variance in ART adherence (p ≤ 0.01). Variance explained increased to 16 % (p ≤ 0.001) after entering structural variables (Step 2); 19 % (p ≤ 0.001) after entering psychosocial variables (Step 3); and 24 % (p ≤ 0.001) after entering AUDIT score (Step 4). Alcohol use is independently associated with ART adherence. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Ramsoomar L.,University of Witwatersrand | Morojele N.K.,University of Witwatersrand | Morojele N.K.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit
South African Medical Journal | Year: 2012

Objectives. To understand alcohol use trends and alcohol-related harm among youth in South Africa (SA) between 1998 and 2008, and discuss implications for the current alcohol policy process. Methods. A review was conducted of 4 national prevalence and 2 sentinel surveillance studies. Data were extracted to Epi Info (version 7) and chi-square analyses undertaken. Results. Lifetime alcohol use remained stable but high at 20 - 25% and 49.1 - 49.6% according to South African Demographic and Health Survey (SADHS) and Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS) data, respectively. Age of initiation remained stable; 12% of adolescents initiated alcohol use prior to age 13 years. Significant gender differences existed with more males having ever consumed alcohol, engaged in binge drinking, and driven or walked under the influence of alcohol (DUI and WUI, respectively). Binge drinking among females increased significantly from 27% to 36% (SADHS) and 18% to 27% (YRBS). DUI and WUI increased. Homicide/ violence, suicide and unintentional deaths were significantly associated with blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Conclusions. Although SA has made significant strides in alcohol control and prevention of alcohol-related harm over the past decade, early alcohol initiation remains a concern and binge drinking is increasing, especially among females. Significant associations exist between BAC and alcohol-related fatalities. Findings imply that regulatory policies are inadequate; additional efforts are required to ensure that control strategies translate into a reduction in harmful alcohol use by SA youth.

Pasche S.,University of Cape Town | Myers B.,University of Cape Town | Myers B.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit
Human Psychopharmacology | Year: 2012

This paper, the first in a series related to the Joint European South African Research Network in Anxiety Disorders programme, examines substance use trends in South Africa. Alcohol remains the substance with the greatest burden of harm. Yet, trends vary by region, with for example methamphetamine being a major driver of psychiatric and substance abuse treatment demand in the Western Cape province. Heroin use is increasing in several provinces, where rapid intervention is required to avoid an epidemic. In particular, the state (the main funder of drug services) urgently needs to provide opioid substitution treatment. Apart from an inadequate number of treatment services, barriers to treatment are high. Barriers are predominantly cost, transport and resource related. Services are also impacted by a small and inadequately trained workforce and poor integration with mental health services. To adequately intervene with substance use disorders, South Africa needs an evidence-based policy and service planning framework that forges linkages with the mental health service system. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Fakier N.,University of Cape Town | Fakier N.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit | Wild L.G.,University of Cape Town
Journal of Adolescence | Year: 2011

This study investigated the relationships among sleep problems, learning difficulties and substance use in adolescence. Previous research suggests that these variables share an association with executive functioning deficits, and are intertwined. The sample comprised 427 adolescents (M age = 16 years) attending remedial schools and 276 adolescents (M age = 15 years) attending a mainstream school in Cape Town, South Africa. Participants completed anonymous self-report questionnaires. Results indicated that adolescents without learning difficulties were more likely to use tobacco, methamphetamine and cannabis, whereas those with learning difficulties engaged in more inhalant use. Adolescents who had more sleep problems were more likely to use tobacco, alcohol, methamphetamine, cannabis, inhalants, cocaine, ecstasy and any other illegal drug. Adolescents with learning difficulties had more sleep problems than those without learning difficulties. However, sleep problems remained independently associated with tobacco, cannabis and inhalant use when learning difficulties were taken into account. © 2010 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents.

Mathers B.M.,University of New South Wales | Degenhardt L.,University of New South Wales | Ali H.,University of New South Wales | Wiessing L.,European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction | And 5 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2010

Background: Previous reviews have examined the existence of HIV prevention, treatment, and care services for injecting drug users (IDUs) worldwide, but they did not quantify the scale of coverage. We undertook a systematic review to estimate national, regional, and global coverage of HIV services in IDUs. Methods: We did a systematic search of peer-reviewed (Medline, BioMed Central), internet, and grey-literature databases for data published in 2004 or later. A multistage process of data requests and verification was undertaken, involving UN agencies and national experts. National data were obtained for the extent of provision of the following core interventions for IDUs: needle and syringe programmes (NSPs), opioid substitution therapy (OST) and other drug treatment, HIV testing and counselling, antiretroviral therapy (ART), and condom programmes. We calculated national, regional, and global coverage of NSPs, OST, and ART on the basis of available estimates of IDU population sizes. Findings: By 2009, NSPs had been implemented in 82 countries and OST in 70 countries; both interventions were available in 66 countries. Regional and national coverage varied substantially. Australasia (202 needle-syringes per IDU per year) had by far the greatest rate of needle-syringe distribution; Latin America and the Caribbean (0·3 needle-syringes per IDU per year), Middle East and north Africa (0·5 needle-syringes per IDU per year), and sub-Saharan Africa (0·1 needle-syringes per IDU per year) had the lowest rates. OST coverage varied from less than or equal to one recipient per 100 IDUs in central Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa, to very high levels in western Europe (61 recipients per 100 IDUs). The number of IDUs receiving ART varied from less than one per 100 HIV-positive IDUs (Chile, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia, and Uzbekistan) to more than 100 per 100 HIV-positive IDUs in six European countries. Worldwide, an estimated two needle-syringes (range 1-4) were distributed per IDU per month, there were eight recipients (6-12) of OST per 100 IDUs, and four IDUs (range 2-18) received ART per 100 HIV-positive IDUs. Interpretation: Worldwide coverage of HIV prevention, treatment, and care services in IDU populations is very low. There is an urgent need to improve coverage of these services in this at-risk population. Funding: UN Office on Drugs and Crime; Australian National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales; and Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Kader R.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit | Seedat S.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit | Govender R.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit | Koch J.R.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit | Parry C.D.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit
AIDS and Behavior | Year: 2014

There is growing recognition of the influence of substance use, particularly alcohol use, on HIV disease progression. This study investigated how hazardous/harmful use of alcohol and drugs impacts the health status of 1503 patients attending HIV clinics. Of the sample, 37 % indicated hazardous/harmful drinking and 13 % indicated a drug problem. Hazardous/harmful use of alcohol and drugs was significantly related to health status, with participants using substances more likely to have TB-positive status (χ2 = 4.30, p < 0.05), less likely to be on ARVs (χ2 = 9.87, p < 0.05) and having lower CD4 counts (t = 4.01, p < 0.05). Structural equation modelling confirmed the centrality of hazardous/harmful use of alcohol as a direct and indirect determinant of disease progression. Based on these findings it is recommended that patients attending HIV clinics be routinely screened for problematic alcohol and/or drug use, with strong emphasis on ensuring ARV adherence in those with problematic alcohol use. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Myers B.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit
Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy | Year: 2010

Background: Although HIV risk-reduction service provision is an important indicator of substance abuse service quality, the extent to which these services are provided in South African substance abuse treatment facilities is unknown. Aims: To examine (i) the extent to which South African substance abuse treatment services provide HIV risk-reduction services to clients and (ii) whether the provision of these services varies by type of facility and by geographic region. Method: Cross-sectional surveys of substance abuse treatment services were conducted in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces (20062007) and the Central and Northern region of the country (20072008). Questions on the availability of testing for HIV and co-occurring infectious diseases, opioid substitution treatment (OST), and harm-reduction interventions for injection drug users were included within the larger survey questionnaire. Response rates of 84 and 83 were obtained for each survey, respectively. Results: Less than half of the facilities surveyed provide HIV counselling and testing services to clients or test clients for co-occurring infectious diseases. Less than one-third conduct harm-reduction interventions among injection drug users and OST is largely unavailable. Facilities that offer residential/inpatient services and employ medically trained staff are more likely to offer clients HIV risk-reduction services than outpatient services or services without medically trained staff. Conclusions: Findings point to the limited availability of HIV risk-reduction services within South African substance abuse treatment facilities. Recommendations are made to enhance access to these services. © 2010 Informa UK Ltd.

Carney T.,Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews | Year: 2014

Adolescent substance use is a major problem, in and of itself and because it acts as a risk factor for other problem behaviours. As substance use during adolescence can lead to adverse and often long-term health and social consequences, it is important to intervene early on in order to prevent progression to more severe problems. Brief interventions have been shown to reduce problematic substance use among adolescents and are especially useful for individuals who have moderately risky patterns of substance use. Such interventions can be conducted in school settings. This review set out to evaluate the effectiveness of brief school-based interventions for adolescent substance use. To evaluate the effectiveness of brief school-based interventions on reducing substance use and other behavioural outcomes among adolescents compared to another intervention or assessment-only conditions. We searched 10 electronic databases and six websites on evidence-based interventions, and the reference lists of included studies and reviews, from 1966 to March 2013. We also contacted authors and organisations to identify any additional studies. We included randomised controlled trials that evaluated the effects of brief school-based interventions for substance-using adolescents.The primary outcomes were reduction or cessation of substance use. The secondary outcomes were engagement in criminal activity and engagement in delinquent or problem behaviours related to substance use. We used the standard methodological procedures outlined by The Cochrane Collaboration, including the GRADE approach for evaluating the quality of evidence. Six studies involving 1139 participants were included in this review. Overall the quality of evidence was moderate in the information provision comparison, and low or very low in the assessment only comparison. Reasons for downgrading the quality included risk of bias of the included studies, imprecision and inconsistency. Our findings suggested that compared to information provision only, brief interventions (BIs) did not have a significant effect on any substance use (three studies, 732 participants, standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.06; 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.20 to 0.09) or delinquent-type behaviour outcomes among adolescents (two studies, 531 participants, SMD -0.26; 95% CI -0.54 to 0.02). When compared to assessment-only controls, BIs had some significant effects on substance use and delinquent-type or problem behaviours, but high levels of heterogeneity existed between studies and it was not always possible to pool the results. When the comparison was with assessment-only conditions, studies of individual interventions that measured BI effectiveness reported significantly reduced substance use in general and in two studies reduced frequency of alcohol use specifically. When the data were pooled, BIs reduced cannabis frequency (SMD -0.22; 95% CI -0.45 to -0.02) across three studies (n = 407). Cannabis quantity was also reduced by BIs in comparison to assessment only (SMD -60.27; 95% CI -66.59 to -53.95) in one study (n = 179). However, the evidence for studies that compared brief interventions to assessment-only conditions was generally of low quality. Brief interventions also had mixed effects on participants' delinquent or problem behaviours. There was limited quality evidence that brief school-based interventions were more effective in reducing substance use than the assessment-only condition, but were similar to information provision. There is some evidence for the effectiveness of BI in reducing adolescent substance use, particularly cannabis, when compared to assessment only. However, it is premature to make definitive statements about the effectiveness of brief school-based interventions for reducing adolescent substance use. Further high quality studies examining the relative effectiveness of BIs for substance use and other problem behaviours need to be conducted, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

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