Now showing 1 - 10 of 19
  • Publication
    Alcohol screening and brief intervention among drug users in primary care : a discussion paper
    Background problem alcohol use is common among problem drug users (PDU) and associated with adverse health outcomes. Primary care has an important role in the overall stepped approach to alcohol treatment, especially screening and brief intervention (SBI). Aim To discuss three themes that emerged from an exploration of the literature on SBI for problem alcohol use in drug users attending primary care. Methods material for this discussion paper was gathered from three biomedical databases (PubMed, PsycINFO and Cochrane library), conference proceedings and online resources of professional organisations or national health agencies. Themes discussed in this paper are: (a) the potential of primary care for delivery of alcohol SBIs to PDUs, (b) screening methods and (c) application of brief interventions to PDUs. Although SBI improves health outcomes associated with problem alcohol use in the general population, further research is needed among high-risk patient groups, especially PDUs.
    Scopus© Citations 11  397
  • Publication
    Community first responders for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in adults and children
    Background: Mobilization of community first responders (CFRs) to the scene of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) event has been proposed as a means of shortening the interval from occurrence of cardiac arrest to performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation, thereby increasing patient survival. Objectives: To assess the effect of mobilizing community first responders (CFRs) to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest events in adults and children older than four weeks of age, in terms of survival and neurological function. Search methods We searched the following databases for relevant trials in January 2019: CENTRAL, MEDLINE (Ovid SP), Embase (Ovid SP), and Web of Science. We also searched the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (WHO ICTRP) and ClinicalTrials.gov, and we scanned the abstracts of conference proceedings of the American Heart Association and the European Resuscitation Council. Selection criteria We included randomized and quasi-randomized trials (RCTs and q-RCTs) that compared routine emergency medical services (EMS) care versus EMS care plus mobilization of CFRs in instances of OHCA.Trials with randomization by cluster were eligible for inclusion, including cluster-design studies with intervention cross-over. In some communities, the statutory ambulance service/EMS is routinely provided by the local fire service. For the purposes of this review, this group represents the statutory ambulance service/EMS, as distinct from CFRs, and was not included as an eligible intervention. We did not include studies primarily focused on opportunistic bystanders. Individuals who were present at the scene of an OHCA event and who performed CPR according to telephone instruction provided by EMS call takers were not considered to be CFRs. Studies primarily assessing the impact of specific additional interventions such as administration of naloxone in narcotic overdose or adrenaline in anaphylaxis were also excluded. We included adults and children older than four weeks of age who had experienced an OHCA. Data collection and analysis Two review authors independently reviewed all titles and abstracts received to assess potential eligibility, using set inclusion criteria. We obtained and examined in detail full-text copies of all papers considered potentially eligible, and we approached authors of trials for additional information when necessary. We summarized the process of study selection in a PRISMA flowchart. Three review authors independently extracted relevant data using a standard data extraction form and assessed the validity of each included trial using the Cochrane ’Risk of bias’ tool. We resolved disagreements by discussion and consensus. We synthesized findings in narrative fashion due to the heterogeneity of the included studies. We used the principles of the GRADE system to assess the certainty of the body of evidence associated with specific outcomes and to construct a ’Summary of findings’ table. Main results: We found two completed studies involving a total of 1136 participants that ultimately met our inclusion criteria. We also found one ongoing study and one planned study. We noted significant heterogeneity in the characteristics of interventions and outcomes measured or reported across these studies, thus we could not pool study results. One completed study considered the dispatch of police and fire service CFRs equipped with automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in an EMS system in Amsterdam and surrounding areas. This study was an RCT with allocation made by cluster according to non-overlapping geographical regions. It was conducted between 5 January 2000 and 5 January 2002. All participants were 18 years of age or older and had experienced witnessed OHCA. The study found no difference in survival at hospital discharge (odds ratio (OR) 1.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.8 to 2.2; 1 RCT; 469 participants; low-certainty evidence), despite the observation that all 72 incidences of defibrillation performed before EMS arrival occurred in the intervention group (OR and 95% CI-not applicable; 1 RCT; 469 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). This study reported increased survival to hospital admission in the intervention group (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.0; 1 RCT; 469 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). The second completed study considered the dispatch of nearby lay volunteers in Stockholm, Sweden, who were trained to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This represented a supplementary CFR intervention in an EMS system where police and fire services were already routinely dispatched to OHCA in addition to EMS ambulances. This study, an RCT, included both witnessed and unwitnessed OHCA and was conducted between 1 April 2012 and 1 December 2013. Participants included adults and children eight years of age and older. Researchers found no difference in 30-day survival (OR 1.34, 95% CI 0.79 to 2.29; 1 RCT; 612 participants; low-certainty evidence), despite a significant increase in CPR performed before EMS arrival (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.09 to 2.03; 1 RCT; 665 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). Neither of the included completed studies considered neurological function at hospital discharge or at 30 days, measured by cerebral performance category or by any other means. Neither of the included completed studies considered health-related quality of life. The overall certainty of evidence for the outcomes of included studies was low to moderate. Authors’ conclusions Moderate-certainty evidence shows that context-specific CFR interventions result in increased rates of CPR or defibrillation performed before EMS arrival. It remains uncertain whether this can translate to significantly increased rates of overall patient survival. When possible, further high-quality RCTs that are adequately powered to measure changes in survival should be conducted. The included studies did not consider survival with good neurological function. This outcome is likely to be important to patients and should be included routinely wherever survival is measured. We identified one ongoing study and one planned trial whose results once available may change the results of this review. As this review was limited to randomized and quasi-randomized trials, we may have missed some important data from other study types.
      248Scopus© Citations 4
  • Publication
    Primary care: a key route for distribution of naloxone in the community
    Heroin use continues to drive opioid-related overdoses and mortality globally (Degenhardt & Hall, 2012). Not-as-prescribed use of prescription opioids increases the number of victims of this epidemic (Logan, Liu, Paulozzi, Zhang, & Jones, 2013). Naloxone has been shown to reduce mortality in overdose among people who use heroin and other opioids; however, its administration in a number of countries, including Ireland, is limited to paramedics and health professionals (Bury, 2015), despite proven effectiveness of overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) programmes by trained lay-people worldwide (McAuley, Aucott, & Matheson, 2015). The effectiveness of these programmes has been demonstrated around outcomes such as knowledge, skills, attitudes and reduced overdose deaths (Coffin & Sullivan, 2013), and involved groups including social workers and needle-exchange staff as well as family and friends of people who use opioids (Walley et al., 2013). While recent systematic reviews have demonstrated the efficacy and feasibility of training diverse groups in OEND (Behar, Santos, Wheeler, Rowe, & Coffin, 2015), the potential and capacity of general practice (GP), to contribute in this area have not been fully characterised (Nielsen & Van Hout, 2016). A naloxone demonstration project is underway in Ireland at the moment and aims to reduce Ireland’s high number of opioid-related deaths (Department of Health, 2015).
      421Scopus© Citations 5
  • Publication
    Development and process evaluation of an educational intervention for overdose prevention and naloxone distribution by general practice trainees
    Background: Overdose is the most common cause of fatalities among opioid users. Naloxone is a life-saving medication for reversing opioid overdose. In Ireland, it is currently available to ambulance and emergency care services, but General Practitioners (GP) are in regular contact with opioid users and their families. This positions them to provide naloxone themselves or to instruct patients how to use it. The new Clinical Practice Guidelines of the Pre-hospital Emergency Care Council of Ireland allows trained bystanders to administer intranasal naloxone. We describe the development and process evaluation of an educational intervention, designed to help GP trainees identify and manage opioid overdose with intranasal naloxone. Methods: Participants (N = 23) from one postgraduate training scheme in Ireland participated in a one-hour training session. The repeated-measures design, using the validated Opioid Overdose Knowledge (OOKS) and Attitudes (OOAS) Scales, examined changes immediately after training. Acceptability and satisfaction with training were measured with a self-administered questionnaire. Results: Knowledge of the risks of overdose and appropriate actions to be taken increased significantly post-training [OOKS mean difference, 3.52 (standard deviation 4.45); P < 0.001]; attitudes improved too [OOAS mean difference, 11.13 (SD 6.38); P < 0.001]. The most and least useful delivery methods were simulation and video, respectively. Conclusion: Appropriate training is a key requirement for the distribution of naloxone through general practice. In future studies, the knowledge from this pilot will be used to inform a train-the-trainer model, whereby healthcare professionals and other front-line service providers will be trained to instruct opioid users and their families in overdose prevention and naloxone use.  
      572Scopus© Citations 15
  • Publication
    Urban Overdose Hotspots: A 12-Month Prospective Study in Dublin Ambulance Services
    Background: Opioid overdose is the primary cause of death among drug users globally. Personal and social determinants of overdose have been studied before, but the environmental factors lacked research attention. Area deprivation or presence of addiction clinics may contribute to overdose. Objectives: To examine the baseline incidence of all new opioid overdoses in an ambulance service, and their relationship with urban deprivation and presence of addiction services. Methods: A prospective chart review of pre-hospital advanced life support patients was performed on confirmed opioid overdose calls. Demographic, geographic, and clinical information, i.e. presentation, treatment, outcomes, was collected for each call. The Census data were used to calculate deprivation. Geographical information software mapped the urban deprivation and addiction services against the overdose locations. Results: There were 469 overdoses, 13 of which were fatal; most were male (80%), of a young age (32 years), with a high rate of repeated overdoses (26%), and common poly-drug use (9.6%). Majority occurred in daytime (275), on the streets (212). Overdoses were more likely in more affluent areas (r = .15, P < .05), and in a 1000 m radius of addiction services. Residential overdoses were in more deprived areas than street overdoses (mean difference 7.8, t(170) = 3.99, P < .001). Street overdoses were more common in the city centre than suburbs (χ2(1) = 33.04, P < 0.001). Conclusions: the identified clusters of increased incidence – urban overdose hotspots - suggest a link between environment characteristics and overdoses. This highlights a need to establish overdose education and naloxone distribution in the overdose hotspots.
      596Scopus© Citations 13
  • Publication
    The management of problem alcohol use among drug users in primary care : exploring patients’ experience of screening and treatment
    Problem alcohol use is common among drug using patients who attend GPs in Ireland (35%) and other European countries. It is associated with adverse health outcomes including physical, psychological and social implications. These include various forms of liver disease exacerbated by the high prevalence of Hepatitis C among IDUs (62-81% in Ireland), fatal/non-fatal opiate overdose, mood anxiety, personality disorders, poor emotional health and wellbeing, early cessation of drug treatment, poor treatment outcomes and an increase in anti-social behaviour. Evidence has demonstrated the role of primary care in screening and treatment for problem alcohol use and the importance of a stepped approach to alcohol treatment. This study examined patients’ experience of being screened and treated for problem alcohol use, the barriers and enablers to addressing these issues and their views on how these therapeutic interventions can be improved.
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  • Publication
    Psychosocial Interventions for Alcohol use among problem drug users (PINTA) : protocol for a feasibility study in primary care
    Background: Alcohol use is an important issue among problem drug users. Although screening and brief intervention are effective in reducing problem alcohol use in primary care, no research has examined this issue among problem drug users. Objectives: To determine if a complex intervention, incorporating screening and brief intervention for problem alcohol use among problem drug users, is feasible and acceptable in practice and effective in reducing the proportion of patients with problem alcohol use. Methods: PINTA is a pilot feasibility study of a complex intervention comprising screening and brief intervention for problem alcohol use among problem drug users with cluster randomisation at the level of general practice, integrated qualitative process evaluation, and involving general practices in two socioeconomically deprived regions. Participants: Practices (N=16) will be eligible to participate if they are registered to prescribe methadone and/or at least 10 patients of the practice are currently receiving addiction-treatment. Patient inclusion criteria are: aged 18 or over and receiving addiction treatment / care (e.g.methadone) or known to be a problem drug user. Interventions: A complex intervention, supporting screening and brief intervention for problem alcohol use among problem drug users (experimental group) compared to an 'assessment only' control group. A delayed intervention being available to 'control' practices after follow up. Outcome: Primary outcomes are feasibility and acceptability of the intervention to patients andprofessionals. Secondary outcome is the effectiveness of the intervention on care process (documented rates of screening and brief intervention) and outcome (proportion of patients with problem alcohol use at the follow up). Randomisation: Stratified random sampling of general practices based on level of training in providing addiction-related care and geographical area. Blinding: Single-blinded; GPs and practice staff, researchers and trainers will not be blinded, but patients and remote randomisers will. Discussion: This is the first study to examine feasibility and acceptability of primary care based complex intervention to enhance alcohol screening and brief intervention among problem drug users. Results will inform future research among this high-risk population and guide policy and service development locally and internationally.
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  • Publication
    Psychosocial interventions to reduce alcohol consumption in concurrent problem alcohol and illicit drug users
    Background: Problem alcohol use is common among illicit drug users and is associated with adverse health outcomes. It is also an important factor in poor prognosis among drug users with hepatitis C virus (HCV) as it impacts on progression to hepatic cirrhosis or opiate overdose in opioid users.Objectives: To assess the effects of psychosocial interventions for problem alcohol use in illicit drug users (principally problem drug users of opiates and stimulants).Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Group trials register (November 2011), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library, Issue 11, November 2011), PUBMED (1966 to 2011); EMBASE (1974 to 2011); CINAHL (1982 to 2011); PsycINFO (1872 to 2011) and reference list of articles. We also searched: 1) conference proceedings (online archives only) of the Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA), International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA), International Conference on Alcohol Harm Reduction (ICAHR), and American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD); 2) online registers of clinical trials, Current Controlled Trials (CCT), Clinical Trials.org, Center Watch and International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP).Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials comparing psychosocial interventions with another therapy (other psychosocial treatment, including non-pharmacological therapies or placebo) in adult (over the age of 18 years) illicit drug users with concurrent problem alcohol use.Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently assessed risk of bias and extracted data from included trials.Main results: Four studies, 594 participants, were included. Half of the trials were rated as having high or unclear risk of bias. They considered six different psychosocial interventions grouped into four comparisons: (1) cognitive-behavioural coping skills training versus 12-step facilitation (N = 41), (2) brief intervention versus treatment as usual (N = 110), (3) hepatitis health promotion versus motivational interviewing (N = 256), and (4) brief motivational intervention versus assessment-only group (N = 187). Differences between studies precluded any pooling of data. Findings are described for each trial individually:comparison 1: no significant difference; comparison 2: higher rates of decreased alcohol use at three months (risk ratio (RR) 0.32; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.19 to 0.54) and nine months (RR 0.16; 95% CI 0.08 to 0.33) in the treatment as usual group; comparison 3 (group and individual format): no significant difference; comparison 4: more people reduced alcohol use (by seven or more days in the past 30 days at 6 months) in the brief motivational intervention compared to controls (RR 1.67; 95% CI 1.08 to 2.60).Authors' conclusions: Very little evidence exists that there is no difference in the effectiveness between different types of interventions and that brief interventions are not superior to assessment only or treatment as usual. No conclusion can be made because of the paucity of the data and the low quality of the retrieved studies.
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  • Publication
    Problem alcohol use among problem drug users : development of clinical guidelines for general practice
    Introduction: Problem alcohol use is common and associated with considerable adverse health and social outcomes among patients who attend GPs in Ireland and other European countries for opioid substitution treatment. This paper aims to describe the development and content of clinical guidelines for the management of problem alcohol use among current or former opioid users attending general practice for methadone treatment. Methods: The guidelines were developed in several stages: i) identification of key stakeholders; ii) development of evidence-based draft guidelines, and iii)determination of a modified ‘Delphi-facilitated’ consensus among the group members. These guidelines were informed by a review of scientific evidence and a qualitative study, results of which will be presented also at this conference. Results: The guidelines incorporate advice for GPs on all aspects of care of this problem, including i) definition of problem alcohol use among problem drug users, ii) screening / identification of problem alcohol use, iii) interventions for treatment and management of problem alcohol use, iv) referral to secondary services and v) role of GPs in the management of persistent problem alcohol use and on-going care. Conclusions: General practice has an important role to play in the care of problem alcohol use among problem drug users, especially patients who attend for methadone treatment. Further research on strategies to inform the implementation of this study is a priority.
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  • Publication
    Psychosocial interventions for problem alcohol use in illicit drug users (Protocol)
    This is the protocol for a review and there is no abstract. The objectives are as follows:To determine the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions targeting problem alcohol use versus other treatments in illicit drug users.
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