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Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, Pages 1-8, 2016.
Abstract: Aim: The aim of the paper was to identify changes in the extent and patterns of anabolic steroid use in the United Kingdom to better understand the public health implications within the context of the current health-related evidence base. Methods: Using the two time points between 1995 (prior to legislation changes in the United Kingdom) and 2015, a review of the evidence related to health harms was conducted, in conjunction with needle and syringe programme (NSP) data in Cheshire & Merseyside (UK) relating to anabolic steroid users. Findings: Dramatic increase in the number of anabolic steroid users accessing NSPs, 553 in 1995 to 2446 in 2015, now accounting for 54.9% of clients. With the inclusion of pharmacy NSPs, this rose to 5336 individual anabolic steroid users. Conclusions: Key changes in our knowledge during the 20 years, in particular, in relation to HIV prevalence, changes in the market and patterns of use make anabolic steroid use a public health concern. In the context of increasing numbers of injectors, there is a need for comprehensive interventions.
Effectiveness of needle/syringe programmes and opiate substitution therapy in preventing HCV transmission among people who inject drugs
Lucy Platt, Silvia Minozzi, Jennifer Reed, Peter Vickerman, Holly Hagan, Clare French, Ashley Jordan, Louisa Degenhardt, Professor Vivian Hope, Sharon Hutchinson, Lisa Maher, Norah Palmateer, Avril Taylor, Julie Bruneau, Matthew Hickman
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews;2016(1). pii: CD012021, 2016.
Background: There are around 114.9 million people living with hepatitis C and 3 to 4 million people newly infected each year. The main risk for becoming infected is sharing used needles/syringes. Almost half the people who inject drugs have hepatitis C. The provision of sterile injecting equipment through NSPs reduces the need for sharing equipment when preparing and injecting drugs. OST is taken orally and reduces frequency of injection and unsafe injecting practices. We examined whether NSP and OST, provided alone or together, are effective in reducing the chances of becoming infected with hepatitis C in people who inject drugs.
Grassroots responses to violence against women and girls in post-earthquake Nepal: Lessons from the field
Kay Standing, Sara Parker, Sapana Bista
Gender & Development, Volume 24, Issue 2, 2016 Special Issue: Violence Against Women and Girls, pages 187-204, 2016.
Abstract: Violence against women and girls (VAWG), including sexual violence, can increase after natural disasters. This article provides evidence from Nepal, a country where progress has been made on gender equality but VAWG remains an endemic problem. Research since the earthquakes involving women activists and non-government organisations indicates the continuing challenges facing disaster response efforts to prevent VAWG and protect women. Women and girls in camps and temporary shelters feel threatened and insecure due to the risk of violence and lack of privacy. Humanitarian aid, health care, and disaster responses can challenge VAWG, and offer safe spaces for women and girls to be established. This article draws on the views of grassroots women’s activists in Nepal and shares lessons for development and humanitarian workers about steps to be taken to challenge and minimise VAWG in emergency situations.
An exploration of alcohol advertising on social networking sites: an analysis of content, interactions and young people’s perspectives
Addiction Research & Theory, 2016.
Abstract: Young people increasingly communicate and interact via social digital media such as Social Network Sites (SNS), where they discuss and display alcohol-related content. SNS have also become an important aspect of the alcohol industry’s multi-platform marketing strategies, which may contribute to the creation of intoxigenic digital spaces in which young people learn about alcohol. This paper presents findings of a content analysis of the extent, nature, and user interaction with SNS-based alcohol marketing for brands popular among young people in the UK. It provides a systematic analysis of both official and user generated marketing content on brand Facebook and Twitter profiles, and user interaction with such content. Findings from peer group interviews (N = 14) also present young people’s (N = 70) perspectives and experiences regarding alcohol marketing on SNS. New SNS engagement marketing strategies extended existing multi-platform brand marketing. Young people interacted with such strategies as part of their identity-making practices, yet through a discourse of immaturity distanced themselves from certain brands, online marketing practices and the idea that their own actions were influenced by marketing. Local night life economy marketing appeared more meaningful and relevant to young people and led to further interaction with brand marketing. Implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the influence of alcohol marketing on young people, and the implications for current regulatory frameworks.
Black box towards glass box: ‘Mapaloguing’ a typology of public health CPD activities in UK in 2011/12
Journal of Public Health, pp. 1–10, 2016.
Abstract: Background: The 1996 Faculty of Public Health study of specialists continuing professional development (CPD) diaries indicated forward-looking approaches. There has been little substantive research on public health CPD records since. Methods: Mixed methods research assessed 795 CPD records/reflective notes from 2011/12. The quantitative methods aimed to analyse types of new learning; a qualitative sub-sample analysis of reflective standards will be reported elsewhere. Many current CPD categories were non-specific and situational, including conferences/workshops and learning as part of the job. These were later classified to a new CPD typology of 13 learning-orientated categories with sub-types. Results: Most (572 = 71.9%) activities fell into current FPH CPD categories that did not identify the learning topic. The new categorization identified four most common CPD learning types: about health protection topics, key specialist knowledge/skills, experiences handling new public health systems and educator/trainer requirements. Conclusions: This new typology illustrates wide-ranging CPD activities, including work-based opportunities from shifts in organizations and policies. A CPD ‘Mapalogue’ is proposed, with ‘Mapaloguing’ as an analytical research process, combining mapping of influences and direction of CPD alongside cataloguing actual CPD undertaken. This could inform individual professionals' choice menu for CPD and personal development and increase the profession's transparency and understanding of long-term trends.
Effect of a sport-for-health intervention (SmokeFree Sports) on smoking-related intentions and cognitions among 9-10 year old primary school children: a controlled trial
Dr Ciara McGee, Joanne Trigwell, Stuart Fairclough, Rebecca Murphy, Dr Lorna Porcellato, Michael Ussher, Lawrence Foweather
BMC Public Health, BMC series – open, inclusive and trusted 16:445, 2016.
Abstract: Background: Preventing children from smoking is a public health priority. This study evaluated the effects of a sport-for-health smoking prevention programme (SmokeFree Sports) on smoking-related intentions and cognitions among primary school children from deprived communities. Methods: A non-randomised-controlled trial targeted 9-10 year old children from Merseyside, North-West England. 32 primary schools received a programme of sport-for-health activities over 7 months; 11 comparison schools followed usual routines. Data were collected pre-intervention (T0), and at 8 months (T1) and one year post-intervention (T2). Smoking-related intentions and cognitions were assessed using an online questionnaire. Intervention effects were analysed using multi-level modelling (school, student), adjusted for baseline values and potential confounders. Mixed-sex focus groups (n = 18) were conducted at T1. Results: 961 children completed all assessments and were included in the final analyses. There were no significant differences between the two study groups for non-smoking intentions (T1: β = 0.02, 95 % CI = -0.08–0.12; T2: β = 0.08, 95 % CI = -0.02–0.17) or for cigarette refusal self-efficacy (T1: β = 0.28, 95 % CI = -0.11–0.67; T2: β = 0.23, 95 % CI = -0.07–0.52). At T1 there was a positive intervention effect for cigarette refusal self-efficacy in girls (β = 0.72, 95 % CI = 0.21–1.23). Intervention participants were more likely to ‘definitely’ believe that: ‘it is not safe to smoke for a year or two as long as you quit after that’ (RR = 1.19, 95 % CI = 1.07–1.33), ‘it is difficult to quit smoking once started’ (RR = 1.56, 95 % CI = 1.38–1.76), ‘smoke from other peoples’ cigarettes is harmful’ (RR = 1.19, 95 % CI = 1.20–2.08), ‘smoking affects sports performance’ (RR = 1.73, 95 % CI = 1.59–1.88) and ‘smoking makes ‘no difference’ to weight’ (RR = 2.13, 95 % CI = 1.86–2.44). At T2, significant between-group differences remained just for ‘smoking affects sports performance’ (RR = 1.57, 95 % CI = 1.43–1.72). Focus groups showed that SFS made children determined to remain smoke free and that the interactive activities aided children’s understanding of smoking harms. Conclusion: SFS demonstrated short-term positive effects on smoking attitudes among children, and cigarette refusal self-efficacy among girls. Although no effects were observed for non-smoking intentions, children said that SFS made them more determined not to smoke. Most children had strong intentions not to smoke; therefore, smoking prevention programmes should perhaps target early adolescents, who are closer to the age of smoking onset.
Adolescents’ reflections on school-based alcohol education in the United Kingdom: education as usual compared with a structured harm reduction intervention
Séamus Harvey, Dr Michael McKay, Professor Harry Sumnall
Journal of Substance Use Volume 21, 2016 - Issue 6, 2016.
Abstract: Alcohol consumption by adolescents in the United Kingdom (UK) remains high. School-based interventions are expected to play a key role in preventing adolescent alcohol consumption. A series of focus groups were conducted with pupils who received alcohol education as usual and pupils who received a Northern Ireland adaptation of the School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project (SHAHRP), a universal alcohol education program designed to reduce the harms experienced by young drinkers. This study sought to compare and contrast the participants’ engagement with and enjoyment of the different alcohol education that they had received. Focus groups were completed with 129 pupils in 16 schools in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Alcohol education as usual was viewed negatively and was regarded as unstructured, boring, repetitive, and unrealistic. In contrast, the adaptation of SHAHRP was viewed positively and was regarded as enjoyable and worthwhile, and engaging and relevant to the participants’ experiences of alcohol use. These findings suggest that one reason why alcohol education as usual may not be successful in preventing adolescent drinking and protecting adolescents from negative outcomes may be due to its failure to engage participants. Higher acceptability by pupils means that the adaptation of SHAHRP may be one viable alternative.
Is the recent emergence of mephedrone injecting in the United Kingdom associated with elevated risk behaviours and blood borne virus infection?
Professor Vivian Hope, Katelyn Cullen, Josie Smith, Lucy Jessop, John V. Parry, Fortune Ncube
Euro Surveill. 2016 May 12;21(19), 2016.
Abstract: The recent, and rapid, emergence of injection of the short-acting stimulant mephedrone (4-methylmethcathione) has resulted in concerns about increased infection risks among people who inject drugs (PWID). Data from the bio-behavioural surveillance of PWID in the United Kingdom were analysed to examine the impact of mephedrone injection on infections among PWID. During the year preceding the survey, 8.0% of PWID (163/2,047) had injected mephedrone. In multivariable analyses, those injecting mephedrone were younger, less likely to have injected opiates, and more likely to have injected cocaine or amphetamines, used needle/syringe programmes or sexual health clinics, been recruited in Wales and Northern Ireland or shared needles/syringes. There were no differences in sexual risks. Those injecting mephedrone more often had hepatitis C antibodies (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.51; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08-2.12), human immunodeficiency virus (AOR = 5.43; 95% CI: 1.90-15.5) and overdosed (AOR = 1.70; 95% CI: 1.12-2.57). There were no differences in the frequency of injecting site infections or prevalence of hepatitis B. The elevated levels of risk and infections are a concern considering its recent emergence. Mephedrone injection may currently be focused among higher-risk or more vulnerable groups. Targeted responses are needed to prevent an increase in harm.
A scoping review of home-produced heroin and amphetamine-type stimulant substitutes: implications for prevention, treatment, and policy
Harm Reduction Journal 13:14, 2016.
Abstract: Several home-produced substances such as krokodil and boltushka are prevalent in many Eastern European countries. Anecdotal reports of its use have been circulating in Germany and Norway; however, this has not been confirmed. Its use has also been reported by the media in the USA, although only one confirmed report of its use exists. Home-produced drugs are associated with high levels of morbidity and a number of complex health issues such as the spread of blood borne viruses, gangrene, and internal organ damage. The high incidence of HIV rates amongst people who inject home-produced substances is a public health concern. The resulting physical health consequences of injecting these crude substances are very severe in comparison to heroin or amphetamine acquired in black markets. Due to this fact and the increased mortality associated with these substances, professionals in the area of prevention, treatment, and policy development need to be cognisant of the presentation, harms, and the dangers associated with home-produced substances globally. This scoping review aimed to examine existing literature on the subject of home-produced heroin and amphetamine-type stimulant substitutes. The review discussed the many implications such research may have in the areas of policy and practice. Data were gathered through the use of qualitative secondary resources such as journal articles, reports, reviews, case studies, and media reports. The home production of these substances relies on the utilisation of precursor drugs such as less potent stimulants, tranquillizers, analgesics, and sedatives or natural plant ingredients. The Internet underpins the facilitation of this practice as recipes, and diverted pharmaceutical sales are available widely online, and currently, ease of access to the Internet is evident worldwide. This review highlights the necessity of prevention, education, and also harm reduction related to home-produced drugs and also recommends consistent monitoring of online drug fora, online drug marketplaces, and unregulated pharmacies.
2,4-Dinitrophenol, the inferno drug: a netnographic study of user experiences in the quest for leanness
Journal of Substance Use, 2016.
Abstract: Background: Despite not being licensed for human consumption, the internet has triggered renewed, widespread interest and availability of 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP). DNP, a cellular metabolic poison causes thermogenesis resulting in fat burning and weight loss. Whilst extensively available for purchase online, research on user experiences of DNP is limited. Methods: A netnographic approach was used to describe user experiences of DNP via online public websites. Public websites discussing DNP were identified and a purposeful sample selected. Discussion threads were downloaded and a textual qualitative analysis conducted. Four themes containing 71 categories were generated. Results: There exists a plethora of communal folk pharmacological advice and recommendations for DNP manufacture and use, together with associated harms and outcomes. The efficacy and untoward effects of DNP were described and discussed alongside the notion that DNP should only be used by experienced bodybuilders. Dosage and regimes for optimal use were also described. Conclusion: This unique study provides a rich examination of the knowledge, attitudes and motivations of DNP users, illustrating the significant role of online public websites in sharing information. Further understanding of DNP users and the online communities in which they reside is warranted to facilitate engagement and formulate appropriate and effective policy responses.