National Drug Research Institute

Perth, Australia

National Drug Research Institute

Perth, Australia
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Rance J.,University of New South Wales | Treloar C.,University of New South Wales | Fraser S.,National Drug Research Institute | Bryant J.,University of New South Wales | Rhodes T.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Drug and Alcohol Dependence | Year: 2017

Background While the health-related benefits of intimate partnership are well documented, little attention has been paid to couples exposed to high levels of social stigma and exclusion. In this project we investigated an important site of stigma for partnerships by collecting accounts of changing hepatitis C (HCV) status (“sero-change”) among couples that inject drugs. We explored what these accounts reveal about the meaning of HCV for these couples, and how this understanding contributes to our collective efforts at prevention and care. Methods Drawing from a large dataset of qualitative interviews with couples, we focussed on those containing reports of sero-change. By adopting a methodology that positioned partnerships rather than individuals as the primary unit of analysis, we addressed the commonplace tendency to either overlook or discount as dysfunctional, the sexual relationships of people who inject drugs. Results While some couples sought greater biomedical understanding as a means of coming to terms with sero-change, others drew on alternative logics or “rationalities” that sat firmly outside conventional biomedical discourse (privileging notions of kinship, for example). Regardless of which explanatory framework they drew on, participants ultimately prioritised the security of their relationship over the dangers of viral infection. Conclusions Effectively engaging couples in HCV prevention and care requires acknowledging and working with the competing priorities and complex realities of such partnerships beyond simply the identification of viral risk. The “new era” of direct acting antiviral treatments will provide ongoing opportunities to learn to integrate biomedical information within more socially sophisticated, relationally aware approaches. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

News Article | November 15, 2016

The more you drink, the greater your risk of prostate cancer: Study Alcohol is known to be a risk factor for breast cancer and at least seven types of cancers of the digestive system. It's also suggested that alcohol may increase the risk of cancers of the skin, pancreas and prostate. But some unresolved questions still remain in the underlying science. A new collaborative study done by researchers at the Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) at the University of Victoria and Australia's National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) at Curtin University provides new evidence of a significant relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of prostate cancer. The article appears in BMC Cancer, a peer-reviewed online journal. Part of the problem with most previous studies comes from what scientists call "abstainer bias." This is the common practice of lumping together former drinkers -- including people who may have previously drank heavily, but quit or cut down due to failing health -- with those who have abstained from drinking alcohol for their whole lives. This practice can disguise the association between alcohol intake and health problems like prostate cancer by making drinkers "look good" in comparison with a group containing unhealthy former drinkers. The research team identified all previously published studies on alcohol and prostate cancer (340) and found 27 that attempted to measure the risk at different levels of consumption. Controlling for abstainer bias in their analysis of all 27 studies, they found a statistically significant dose-response relationship between amount of alcohol consumed and risk of prostate cancer among current drinkers. In other words, the more you drink, the greater your risk of prostate cancer. Even at low-volume drinking (up to two drinks per day), men had an eight per cent greater risk of prostate cancer compared to lifetime abstainers. But when the researchers examined only those six studies that were originally free of abstainer bias, the risk for low volume drinkers rose to 23 per cent. Given the high prevalence of prostate cancer, especially in the developed world, the public health implications of these fi¬ndings are signifi¬cant. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in Canada, Australia and Britain, and is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in men worldwide. "This new study contributes to the strengthening evidence that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer. Alcohol's contribution to prostate cancer will need to be factored in to future estimates of the global burden of disease," said UVic's CARBC director and co-author Dr. Tim Stockwell. This month is "Movember," a campaign that originated in Australia to raise funds and awareness of prostate and testicular cancer and men's health in general. The week of Nov.16 - 22 is National Alcohol Awareness Week in the UK and National Addictions Awareness Week in Canada. "These findings highlight the need for better methods in research on alcohol and health," says report co-author Dr. Tanya Chikritzhs. "Past and future studies that demonstrate protection from disease due to low-level drinking should be treated with caution." Study co-authors include Dr. Jinhui Zhao and Audra Roemer (MSc research assistant) from the University of Victoria. Tim Stockwell Director, Centre for Addictions Research of BC, University of Victoria 250-472-5445

Butler T.,National Drug Research Institute | Schofield P.W.,University of Newcastle | Greenberg D.,Justice Health NSW | Greenberg D.,University of New South Wales | And 10 more authors.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry | Year: 2010

Background: The association between serotonergic dysfunction and aggression has prompted the use of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as a means of controlling impulsive violent behaviour. The aim of the current study was to examine the feasibility of using an SSRI to treat impulsivity in a group of repeat violent offenders. Methods: Potential participants were recruited from three magistrates' court complexes in the Sydney metropolitan area and all had histories of violent offending (at least one prior conviction for a violent offence). Those who scored highly on the Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS-11), passed medical and psychiatric evaluations and consented to treatment were prescribed sertraline (Zoloft) over a three month period. Results: Thirty-four individuals commenced the trial, with 20 completing the three month intervention. Reductions were observed across a range of behavioural measures from baseline to 3 months: impulsivity (35%), irritability (45%), anger (63%), assault (51%), verbal-assault (40%), indirect-assault (63%), and depression (62%). All those who completed the three month trial requested to continue sertraline under the supervision of their own medical practitioner. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that treating impulsive violent individuals in the criminal justice system with an SSRI is a potential treatment opportunity for this population. An adequately powered randomized control trial of this intervention is warranted. © 2010 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Lenton E.,Monash University | Fraser S.,Monash University | Moore D.,National Drug Research Institute | Treloar C.,University of New South Wales
Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy | Year: 2011

Background: Many of the effects of hepatitis C are now well-documented. There are reports of a reduction in sexual contact, social withdrawal and feelings of contamination and contagion following diagnosis. However, on some of the more intimate aspects of living with hepatitis C, such as those relating to sexuality, love and intimacy, research is yet to be undertaken. Method: In this article, we draw on 30 interviews conducted with hepatitis C positive people in Melbourne, Australia. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and then coded and organized thematically. This article draws on three case studies to illustrate its findings. Results: Contracting hepatitis C significantly limited access to love and intimacy for some participants, affecting existing relationships and ruling out new ones. The task of managing both health and relationships was undertaken by women much more commonly than by men. Finding love and becoming a desirable partner, sometimes engaged people in new ways with their health. Conclusions: This article concludes with two key observations. First, ideas of love, intimacy, health and purity all rely on each other for meaning. Second, within this constellation of meanings, disease and intimacy figure as paradoxical. Together these observations indicate the need to challenge ideas about disease, sexuality and romance. © 2011 Informa UK Ltd. All rights reserved.

Moller C.I.,Australian National University | Tait R.J.,Australian National University | Tait R.J.,National Drug Research Institute | Byrne D.G.,Australian National University
Substance Abuse | Year: 2013

Background and Method: A systematic literature review was conducted to examine associations between self-harm, substance use, and negative affect in nonclinical samples. Results: Forty-two articles describing 36 studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria. Findings indicated that individuals who engage in substance use are significantly more likely to engage in self-harm. It was also found that negative affective states such as depression and anxiety are consistently associated with self-harm. Conclusions: These findings provide some guidance in identifying those who are at increased risk of self-harm. Reducing these risk factors could be an important strategy in preventing self-harm behavior in the general population. © 2013 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

McBride N.,National Drug Research Institute | Carruthers S.,National Drug Research Institute | Hutchinson D.,National Drug Research Institute
Global Health Promotion | Year: 2012

Objectives. This study assesses factors that contribute to alcohol consumption during pregnancy and identifies potential intervention strategies to reduce consumption. Methods. The study sample includes 142 pregnant women who attended a public hospital for prenatal health care in Perth, Western Australia. All participants returned a self-completion survey. Results. Women who discontinued drinking during pregnancy were significantly more likely to be engaged in full time home duties and had completed less formal education. Women who continued to drink were more likely to have drunk in previous pregnancies and during the preconception period. Nearly 40% of high risk women reported a negative comment in response to their drinking. One-third of women in the risky group were advised by a health professional not to drink alcohol. Women were most likely to drink in their own home or at the home of a friend. Conclusions. Participatory research with women who drink while pregnant can assist in identifying potential intervention strategies that have resonance with this group and therefore more potential for creating behaviour change. Implications. The World Health Organization recognises, and has done for over 10 years, that alcohol use during pregnancy which results in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is the leading cause of environmental-related birth defects and mental retardation in the Western world. © The Author(s) 2012.

Velander F.,National Drug Research Institute | Schineanu A.,National Drug Research Institute | Liang W.,National Drug Research Institute | Midford R.,National Drug Research Institute
Journal of Health, Safety and Environment | Year: 2010

A comprehensive health screening was conducted with 591 workers from a goldmine in Western Australia to inform company health promotion programs. We investigated lifestyle and work-related health risk factors using a specifically designed survey, screened for depression, anxiety and stress using the DASS-21 questionnaire and the AUDIT for alcohol consumption. Results show that rates of smoking, diabetes, depression and anxiety were higher than respective national rural and remote state figures. Frequent and high levels of work-related stress and personal stress were significantly associated with harmful drinking, depression, anxiety and stress, even after adjusting for a number of independent variables. The results suggest that the psycho-social working environment in the WA mining industry is challenging and may be responsible for the high rates of mental health issues observed in this study.

Small W.,University of British Columbia | Shoveller J.,University of British Columbia | Moore D.,National Drug Research Institute | Tyndall M.,University of British Columbia | And 3 more authors.
Qualitative Health Research | Year: 2011

North America's first supervised injection facility (SIF) was established in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003. Although evaluation research has documented reductions in risk behavior among SIF users, there has been limited examination of the influence of operational features on injection drug users' access to these facilities. We conducted an ethnographic study that included observational research within the SIF, 50 in-depth individual interviews with SIF users, and analysis of the regulatory frameworks governing the SIF. The government-granted exemption allowing the facility to operate legally imposes key operating regulations, as well as a cap on capacity, which results in significant wait times to enter the injecting room. Regulations that prohibit practices that are common in the local drug culture also negatively affect SIF utilization. Restructuring policies that shape the operation of the SIF could enhance access to the facility and permit SIF services to better accommodate local drug use practices. © The Author(s) 2011.

McKay M.T.,University of Liverpool | McBride N.T.,National Drug Research Institute | Sumnall H.R.,Liverpool John Moores University | Cole J.C.,University of Liverpool
Journal of Substance Use | Year: 2012

Background: The study aimed to trial an adapted version of the School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project (SHAHRP) in Northern Ireland. The intervention aims to enhance alcohol-related knowledge, create more healthy alcohol-related attitudes and reduce alcohol-related harms in 1416-year-olds. Method: A non-randomised control longitudinal design with intervention and control groups assessed students at baseline and 12, 24 and 32 months after baseline. Students were from post-primary schools (high schools) in the Eastern Health Board Area in Northern Ireland. Two thousand three hundred and forty nine participants were recruited at baseline (mean age 13.84) with an attrition rate of 12.8% at 32-month follow-up. The intervention was an adapted, culturally competent version of SHAHRP, a curriculum programme delivered in two consecutive academic years, with an explicit harm reduction goal. Knowledge, attitudes, alcohol consumption, context of use, harm associated with own alcohol use and the alcohol use of other people were assessed at all time points. Results: There were significant intervention effects on all measures (intervention vs. controls) with differential effects observed for teacher-delivered and outside facilitator-delivered SHAHRP. Conclusion: The study provides evidence of the cultural applicability of a harm reduction intervention (SHAHRP) for risky drinking in adolescents in a UK context. © 2012 Informa UK Ltd.

Yap L.,University of New South Wales | Richters J.,University of New South Wales | Butler T.,National Drug Research Institute | Schneider K.,University of New South Wales | And 2 more authors.
Sexual Health | Year: 2010

Background: Dental dams have been distributed to women prisoners for protection against HIV and other sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in some Canadian and Australian prisons for over a decade. However, we do not know whether they serve any useful public health purpose. Objective: To determine how dental dams are used in women's prisons in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Method: Using quantitative and qualitative methods, we investigated women's sexual practices with a focus on how dental dams are used in NSW prisons. Results: Although 71 of the 199 (36%) women reported having had sex with another inmate, with oral sex involved in most encounters, only eight (4%) had ever used a dental dam. The main sources of STI transmission risk among women prisoners were oral sex, manual sex and sharing dildos. Furthermore, sharing razors could also allow the transmission of blood-borne viruses, which could occur during sex in the presence of cuts or menstrual fluid. The high rates of hepatitis B and C among incarcerated women compound this risk. Conclusion: Dental dams are not widely used by women prisoners and we question their utility in women's prisons. Oral sex is an important risk factor for acquisition of herpes simplex virus type 1, but most women in NSW prisons (89%) are already infected. Condoms and latex gloves may have more use. Condoms could be used as a barrier on shared dildos and sex toys, while latex gloves could be used to protect cut and grazed hands from vaginal and menstrual fluids. © CSIRO 2010.

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