ResearchPad - behavioral-pharmacology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Recreational drug use among Nigerian university students: Prevalence, correlates and frequency of use]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15734 Given the paucity of data on recreational drug use and the recent media attention on the abuse of drugs such as codeine cough syrups and tramadol, in Nigeria, our study examined the prevalence and frequency of recreational drug use among young adults from two Nigerian universities. We drew from the Socio-ecological Model to examine the influence of factors at the individual and family level on recreational drug use among adolescents and young adults.MethodsThis cross-sectional study was conducted between February and March 2018 among a final sample of 784 male and female university students selected using stratified random sampling. Binary logistic regression was used to identify significant predictors of ever use and current use of drugs.ResultsOur analyses showed that 24.5% of students had ever used drugs for recreational purposes, and 17.5% are current users. The median drug use frequency over the past month was six days among current users (n = 137). In the multivariable analyses, living in the same household as one's mother (AOR 0.28 95% CI 0.16–0.49), adequate family support (AOR 0.48 95% CI 0.26–0.89) and frequent attendance of religious fellowships (AOR 0.13 95% CI 0.07–0.25) were significantly associated with a lower likelihood of recreational drug use. However, male sex (AOR 1.52 95% CI 1.05–2.21) was associated with higher odds of recreational drug use.ConclusionThe family should be considered as an important unit to sensitize young people on the harmful effects of drug use. It is also vital that religious leaders speak against drug use in their various fellowships. There is a need to address recreational drug use on Nigerian campuses by educating students about its adverse impacts. ]]> <![CDATA[Retention of patients in opioid substitution treatment: A systematic review]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14597 Retention in opioid substitution (OST) treatment is associated with substantial reductions in all cause and overdose mortality. This systematic review aims to identify both protective factors supporting retention in OST, and risk factors for treatment dropout.MethodsA systematic search was performed using MEDLINE, Embase, PsycInfo, CINAHL and Web of Science (January 2001 to October 2019). Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and observational cohort studies reporting on retention rates and factors associated with retention in OST were included. Factors associated with treatment retention and dropout were explored according to the Maudsley Addiction Profile. A narrative synthesis is provided.Results67 studies were included in this review (4 RCTs and 63 observational cohort studies; N = 294,592), all assessing factors associated with retention in OST or treatment dropout. The median retention rate across observational studies was approximately 57% at 12 months, which fell to 38.4% at three years. Studies included were heterogeneous in nature with respect to treatment setting, type of OST, risk factor assessment, ascertainment of outcome and duration of follow-up. While the presence of such methodological heterogeneity makes it difficult to synthesise results, there is limited evidence to support the influence of a number of factors on retention, including age, substance use, OST drug dose, legal issues, and attitudes to OST.ConclusionsYounger age, substance use particularly cocaine and heroin use, lower doses of methadone, criminal activity/incarceration, and negative attitudes to MMT appear to be associated with reduced retention in OST. A consensus definition of retention is required to allow for comparability across future studies. ]]> <![CDATA[Food insecurity and violence in a prospective cohort of women at risk for or living with HIV in the U.S.]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89779fd5eed0c4847d31be

Background

Food insecurity and violence are two major public health issues facing U.S. women. The link between food insecurity and violence has received little attention, particularly regarding the temporal ordering of events. The present study used data from the Women’s Interagency Human Immunodeficiency Virus Study to investigate the longitudinal association of food insecurity and violence in a cohort of women at risk for or living with HIV.

Methods

Study participants completed six assessments from 2013–16 on food insecurity (operationalized as marginal, low, and very low food security) and violence (sexual or physical, and psychological). We used multi-level logistic regression, controlling for visits (level 1) nested within individuals (level 2), to estimate the association of experiencing violence.

Results

Among 2,343 women (8,528 visits), we found that victims of sexual or physical violence (odds ratio = 3.10; 95% confidence interval: 1.88, 5.19) and psychological violence (odds ratio = 3.00; 95% confidence interval: 1.67, 5.50) were more likely to report very low food security. The odds of experiencing violence were higher for women with very low food security at both the current and previous visit as compared to only the current visit. HIV status did not modify these associations.

Conclusions

Food insecurity was strongly associated with violence, and women exposed to persistent food insecurity were even more likely to experience violence. Food programs and policy must consider persistent exposure to food insecurity, and interpersonal harms faced by food insecure women, such as violence.

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<![CDATA[Integrating hypertension screening at the time of voluntary HIV testing among adults in South Africa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730e3d5eed0c484f382ac

Background

Guidelines recommend integrating hypertension screening for HIV-infected adults, but blood pressure measurements may be dynamic around the time of HIV testing.

Methods

We measured a seated resting blood pressure in adults (≥18 years) prior to HIV testing, and again after receiving HIV test results, in an ambulatory HIV clinic in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We assessed sociodemographics, smoking, body mass index, diabetes, substance abuse, and anxiety/depression. We used blood pressure categories defined by the Seventh Joint National Committee (JNC 7) classifications, which includes normal, pre-hypertension, stage 1 hypertension, and stage 2 hypertension.

Results

Among 5,428 adults, mean age was 31 years, 51% were male, and 35% tested HIV-positive. Before HIV testing, 47% (2,634) had a normal blood pressure, 40% (2,225) had prehypertension, and 10% (569) had stage 1 or 2 hypertension. HIV-infected adults had significantly lower blood pressure measurements and less hypertension, as compared to HIV-negative adults before HIV testing; while also having significantly elevated blood pressures after HIV testing. In a multivariable model, HIV-infected adults had a 30% lower odds of hypertension, compared to HIV-uninfected adults (aOR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.57–0.85). In a separate multivariable model, HIV-infected adults with CD4 ≤200 cells/mm3 had a 44% lower odds of hypertension (aOR = 0.56, 95% CI: 0.38–0.83), as compared to adults with CD4 >200 cells/mm3. The mean arterial blood pressure was 6.5 mmHg higher among HIV-infected adults after HIV testing (p <0.001).

Conclusions

HIV-infected adults experienced a transient blood pressure increase after receiving HIV results. Blood pressure measurements may be more accurate before HIV testing and repeated blood pressure measurements are recommended after ART initiation before formally diagnosing hypertension in HIV-infected adults.

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<![CDATA[An outbreak of HIV infection among people who inject drugs linked to injection of propofol in Taiwan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730e4d5eed0c484f382b9

Introduction

The aim of this study was to report an HIV outbreak related to propofol-injection and the impact of regulating propofol on the HIV epidemic among people who inject drugs (PWID).

Methods

A retrospective cohort study of 252 PWID who were diagnosed with an HIV infection between 2014 and 2017 in Taiwan. The propofol information was collected by routine epidemic surveillance and interviews. We linked several national databases to collect other related factors, including methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) attendance and incarceration. The serums were tested for recent infection by the LAg‐avidity EIA assay and relationship of the trains by the Phylogenetic tree analysis. Analyses were conducted using the R Surveillance package for retrospective modeling for outbreak detection. A multiple logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between propofol-injection and other related factors.

Results

There were 28 cases reported with propofol-injection, all of which were reported in Central Taiwan. A total of 11 (50%) cases among 22 propofol-injectors with serums were recent infections, which were higher than that 33 (23.4%) of non-propofol group. The phylogenetic tree indicated that 6 propofol-injectors were grouped together with the same cluster in circular. The HIV epidemic curve among PWID revealed an outbreak of 82 in 2015, which then decreased to 43 in 2016 after propofol began to be regulated as a Schedule 4 controlled drug in August 2015. In a multiple logistic regression, attendance at methadone clinics was associated with a significantly higher risk for propofol-injection (adjusted OR = 2.43, 95% CI = 0.98–5.98), and HIV reported in the year 2015 was associated with an increased risk of propofol-injection (adjusted OR = 4, 95% CI = 1.08–14.86).

Conclusions

Our data indicate that the government regulation of propofol as a controlled drug strategy was associated with significant reduction in the spread of HIV among PWID.

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<![CDATA[Psychological distress mediated the effects of self-stigma on quality of life in opioid-dependent individuals: A cross-sectional study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cd9d5eed0c484c8193c

Background

Both stigma and psychological distress affect quality of life (QOL). This study is an attempt to determine the effects of these two factors on QOL and to explore possible mediation effects between psychological distress and self-stigma in opioid-dependent individuals.

Methods

This cross-sectional study comprised 268 consecutive, treatment-seeking opioid-dependent individuals who were interviewed using the brief version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life instrument (WHOQOL-BREF), the Self-Stigma Scale-Short (SSS-S), the Chinese Health Questionnaire-12 (CHQ-12), and the Opiate Treatment Index (OTI). A series of regression models were constructed to determine if the SSS-S and CHQ-12 predict the WHOQOL-BREF scores. Moreover, a comparison of the potential mediation effects of psychological distress (as assessed by the CHQ-12) was made between the SSS-S and the WHOQOL-BREF using the Baron and Kenny procedure (including three separate regressions), along with the Sobel test.

Results

The CHQ-12 score was predictive of the scores for the four domains and almost all facets of the WHOQOL-BREF except the item, “Dependence on medical aids.” Nonetheless, the SSS-S score predicted three of the four facets of the social QOL after adjustment of the CHQ-12 score. Psychological distress completely mediated the relation between self-stigma and the physical, psychological, and environmental domains, and partially mediated the relationship between self-stigma and social QOL (two-tailed Sobel test: p = 0.02 for each domain).

Conclusions

Psychological distress has a significant impact on the QOL of treated opioid users. It appears to be a core element in reducing the negative effects of self-stigma on aspects of QOL.

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<![CDATA[Sex differences in aggression: Differential roles of 5-HT2, neuropeptide F and tachykinin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fea5d5eed0c4841351f0

Despite the conserved function of aggression across taxa in obtaining critical resources such as food and mates, serotonin’s (5-HT) modulatory role on aggressive behavior appears to be largely inhibitory for vertebrates but stimulatory for invertebrates. However, critical gaps exist in our knowledge of invertebrates that need to be addressed before definitively stating opposing roles for 5-HT and aggression. Specifically, the role of 5-HT receptor subtypes are largely unknown, as is the potential interactive role of 5-HT with other neurochemical systems known to play a critical role in aggression. Similarly, the influence of these systems in driving sex differences in aggressive behavior of invertebrates is not well understood. Here, we investigated these questions by employing complementary approaches in a novel invertebrate model of aggression, the stalk-eyed fly. A combination of altered social conditions, pharmacological manipulation and 5-HT2 receptor knockdown by siRNA revealed an inhibitory role of this receptor subtype on aggression. Additionally, we provide evidence for 5-HT2’s involvement in regulating neuropeptide F activity, a suspected inhibitor of aggression. However, this function appears to be stage-specific, altering only the initiation stage of aggressive conflicts. Alternatively, pharmacologically increasing systemic concentrations of 5-HT significantly elevated the expression of the neuropeptide tachykinin, which did not affect contest initiation but instead promoted escalation via production of high intensity aggressive behaviors. Notably, these effects were limited solely to males, with female aggression and neuropeptide expression remaining unaltered by any manipulation that affected 5-HT. Together, these results demonstrate a more nuanced role for 5-HT in modulating aggression in invertebrates, revealing an important interactive role with neuropeptides that is more reminiscent of vertebrates. The sex-differences described here also provide valuable insight into the evolutionary contexts of this complex behavior.

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<![CDATA[The characteristics and patterns of utilization of healthcare services among Omanis with substance use disorders attending therapy for cessation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca288d5eed0c48441e5a3

Background

It is indicated that Oman is witnessing an increase in issues pertinent to alcohol and psychoactive substance use.

Aim

The aim of this study was to identify the characteristics of Omanis with substance use disorder attending a specialized hospital in Oman and the pattern of their utilization of healthcare services. A related aim was to ascertain the age group most vulnerable to alcohol and substance use in Oman.

Method

A cross-sectional study was conducted in a tertiary care center specialized for treatment of those engaging in substance use in Oman. The participants in the study were selected from a convenience sample among patients seeking consultation at the center for alcohol and substance use. A six-part questionnaire was designed to obtain information regarding socio-demographic background, clinical history, healthcare utilization and perceived hurdles to access. Chi-square analyses were used to evaluate the significance of differences among categorical data. Logistic regression modelling was used to obtain measures of association after adjusting for confounding factors.

Results

Among the patients (n = 293) seeking cessation therapy, 99% were male and less than 30 years of age. Peer influences on the initiation of substance use were significant. Most patients had a history of polysubstance use, including intravenous substance use. Cannabis and alcohol were the first substances consumed by most patients and Hepatitis C and psychiatric disorders were found to be the most common co-morbidities. The participants that reported use of cannabis and benzodiazepines were more likely to perceive “improvement” upon receiving treatment.

Conclusion

This study indicated that males below 30 years of age with a history of polysubstance use were likely to attend a hospital specialized in treating substance use disorder in Oman. This study identified information regarding socio-demographic background, risk factors and perceived hurdles to healthcare that could serve as groundwork for further studies conducted on newly emerging issues of substance use in Oman.

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<![CDATA[Cannabinoid and nicotine exposure during adolescence induces sex-specific effects on anxiety- and reward-related behaviors during adulthood]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2f6d5eed0c48441ee8a

Nicotine and cannabis use during adolescence has the potential to induce long lasting changes on affective and cognitive function. Here, we examined whether adolescent exposure to nicotine, the cannabinoid agonist WIN55-212,2 (WIN), or co-exposure to both would alter operant learning, locomotion, and anxiety- and reward-related behaviors in male and female mice during adulthood. Males exposed to a moderate dose of WIN (2 mg/kg) or co-exposed to nicotine and the moderate dose of WIN exhibited decreased anxiety-associated behaviors and increased cognitive flexibility, but did not differ in operant learning or generalized locomotion. In contrast, differences were not found among the females in these measures at the moderate WIN dose or in both sexes with exposure to a low WIN dose (0.2 mg/kg). Furthermore, a sex-dependent dissociative effect was found in natural reward consumption. Males exposed to the moderate dose of WIN or co-exposed to nicotine and the moderate dose of WIN demonstrated increased sucrose consumption. In contrast, females exposed to the moderate dose of WIN exhibited a decrease in sucrose consumption, which was ameliorated with co-administration of nicotine. Together, these novel findings demonstrate that adolescent exposure to cannabinoids in the presence or absence of nicotine results in altered affective and reward-related behaviors during adulthood.

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<![CDATA[Perspectives on substance use among youth with chronic medical conditions and implications for clinical guidance and prevention: A qualitative study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5217ead5eed0c484795946

Increasing numbers of youth globally live with a chronic illness. These youth use alcohol and marijuana at levels equal to or greater than their healthy peers and, when using, are at elevated risk for regular or problem use and adverse consequences to their condition. Little is known about whether behavioral theories commonly invoked to explain adolescent substance use apply to this group, limiting our ability to develop, tailor and target preventive interventions. We interviewed youth ages 16–19 years in care for a chronic disease to gain knowledge of this group’s perspectives on substance use risk, decision-making, and preferences for clinical guidance. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analyzed. Three principal themes emerged: first, having a chronic disease frames understanding of and commitment to health protecting behaviors and impacts decisions to avoid behaviors that carry risks for disease complications and flares; second, developmental impulses typical of adolescence can amplify an adolescent’s propensity to take risks despite medical vulnerability and direct youth toward maladaptive choices to mitigate risk; and third, poor knowledge about effects of substance use on specific features of a disease shapes perceived risk and undermines health protecting decisions. Youth navigate these issues variously including by avoiding substance use at a specific time or entirely, using while cognitively discounting risks and/or adjusting treatment outside of medical advice. Their perceptions about substance use are complex and reveal tension among choices reflecting a chronic illness frame, developmental impulses, and knowledge gaps. Delivery of targeted guidance in healthcare settings may help youth navigate this complexity and connect patient-centered goals to optimize health with health protecting behavioral decisions.

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<![CDATA[Exploring associations between early substance use and longitudinal socio-occupational functioning in young people engaged in a mental health service]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c605a7cd5eed0c4847cd046

Neuropsychiatric disorders (including substance misuse) are associated with the greatest burden of functional disability in young people, and contributory factors remain poorly understood. Early-onset substance use is one candidate risk factor which may inform functional prognosis and facilitate direction of interventions aiming to curtail impairment. Accordingly, we modelled associations between early-onset use of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATSs) and longitudinal socio-occupational functioning (indexed by the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale) in an observational cohort presenting to early intervention mental health services. A clinical proforma collated demographic, clinical, and socio-occupational information for up to 60-months from presentation to services in young people aged 17–30. Of the wider cohort (n = 2398), 446 participants were selected with complete alcohol and substance use data. Latent class analysis was used to derive an ‘early-onset’ (n = 243) and ‘later-onset’ class (n = 203) based on age of first use of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and ATSs. Maximum-likelihood multilevel analyses modelled functioning over time in care and tested associations with substance use latent class, age, gender and diagnosis. Membership in the ‘early-onset’ class (B = -1.64, p = 0.05), male gender (B = -3.27, p<0.001) and psychotic disorder diagnosis (B = -7.62, p<0.001) were associated with poorer functioning at presentation and at least one other time-point. To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore associations of early-onset substance use and longitudinal functioning in a cohort of young people with mental disorders. The identified factors may be useful for directing specific social (e.g. Social Recovery Therapy) or occupational (e.g. Individual Placement and Support) interventions to at-risk individuals, early in illness course.

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<![CDATA[The role of normative beliefs in the mediation of a school-based drug prevention program: A secondary analysis of the #Tamojunto cluster-randomized trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d011ed5eed0c48403874b

Aims

To investigate the mediating effects of normative beliefs of drug use on the effects of the #Tamojunto school-based prevention program (Unplugged).

Design

Secondary analysis of a cluster randomized controlled trial.

Setting

Brazil. Participants: A total of 6,391 adolescents (12.68 y.o) from 72 public schools in 6 Brazilian cities. Intervention: Schools were assigned to an experimental condition (#Tamojunto curriculum) or a control condition (no prevention program). Measurements: Baseline data were collected prior to program implementation, and follow-up data were collected 9 and 21 months later. The substances examined were alcohol (including binge drinking), tobacco, marijuana and inhalants. Five in-parallel mediation models evaluated whether the positive and negative beliefs were mediators of the likely effects of the intervention on drug use.

Findings

Lack of evidences regarding differences in normative beliefs or drug use were found between the intervention and control groups. However, there was a clear association between negative drug beliefs and lower consumption (i.e. OR = 0.78; 95% CI 0.70; 0.87, for cannabis use) as well as between positive drug beliefs and higher consumption (i.e. OR = 1.77; 95% CI 1.56; 2.02, for cannabis use) independent of the assigned group.

Conclusions

These results suggest that there is a lack of evidence that the program impact the normative beliefs, as proposed by the theoretical model of the program, suggesting that modifications are needed to produce the intended effect of the program. Negative normative beliefs seem to be a potential protective factor for drug use, but the program’s effect itself on drug use via normative beliefs was not found to be statistically significant. Program activities intended to affect normative beliefs should be improved.

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<![CDATA[Measures of possible allostatic load in comorbid cocaine and alcohol use disorder: Brain white matter integrity, telomere length, and anti-saccade performance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5b9d5eed0c484ca7cd8

Chronic cocaine and alcohol use impart significant stress on biological and cognitive systems, resulting in changes consistent with an allostatic load model of neurocognitive impairment.

The present study measured potential markers of allostatic load in individuals with comorbid cocaine/alcohol use disorders (CUD/AUD) and control subjects. Measures of brain white matter (WM), telomere length, and impulsivity/attentional bias were obtained. WM (CUD/AUD only) was indexed by diffusion tensor imaging metrics, including radial diffusivity (RD) and fractional anisotropy (FA). Telomere length was indexed by the telomere to single copy gene (T/S) ratio. Impulsivity and attentional bias to drug cues were measured via eye-tracking, and were also modeled using the Hierarchical Diffusion Drift Model (HDDM). Average whole-brain RD and FA were associated with years of cocaine use (R2 = 0.56 and 0.51, both p < .005) but not years of alcohol use. CUD/AUD subjects showed more anti-saccade errors (p < .01), greater attentional bias scores (p < .001), and higher HDDM drift rates on cocaine-cue trials (Bayesian probability CUD/AUD > control = p > 0.99). Telomere length was shorter in CUD/AUD, but the difference was not statistically significant. Within the CUD/AUD group, exploratory regression using an elastic-net model determined that more years of cocaine use, older age, larger HDDM drift rate differences and shorter telomere length were all predictive of WM as measured by RD (model R2 = 0.79). Collectively, the results provide modest support linking CUD/AUD to putative markers of allostatic load.

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<![CDATA[No change in health-related quality of life for at-risk U.S. women and men starting HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): Findings from HPTN 069/ACTG A5305]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2d2e51d5eed0c484d993b5

Introduction

Tenofovir (TDF)-containing PrEP is effective for HIV prevention, but its effect on health-related quality of life (QOL) is unknown. Using data from HPTN 069/ACTG A5305, a randomized study of potential PrEP regimens comparing maraviroc alone, or together with TDF or emtricitabine (FTC), to TDF + FTC (control), we evaluated the impact of these regimens on QOL in at-risk HIV-uninfected U.S. women and men.

Methods

QOL was measured at baseline (before starting medications) and every 8 weeks through week 48 using the EQ-5D-3L. Responses were converted to a scale from 0.0 (death) to 1.0 (perfect health), using published valuation weights. Mean scores were compared between groups at each time point using nonparametric testing. Multivariable linear regression was used to adjust for potential confounders.

Results

We analyzed 186 women (median age 35 years, 65% black, 17% Hispanic) and 405 men (median age 30 years, 28% black, 22% Hispanic), including 9 transgender participants analyzed based on sex-at-birth. Mean baseline QOL was 0.91 for women and 0.95 for men. There were minimal changes in mean QOL over time for any regimen (women: p = 0.29; men: p = 0.14). There were no significant differences between participants who continued the regimen compared to participants who discontinued early (women: p = 0.61; men: p = 0.1). Mean QOL did not differ significantly by regimen at any time point, both unadjusted and after adjustment for age, race/ethnicity, adherence, and use of alcohol, marijuana, opiates, and other substances.

Conclusions

QOL in at-risk individuals starting candidate PrEP regimens in a clinical trial is similar to the general population and maintained over time. This finding did not vary among regimens or when adjusted for demographics, adherence, and substance use. Our findings are the first to show that starting a candidate PrEP regimen in at-risk HIV-uninfected U.S. women and men was not associated with significant changes in QOL.

Trial registration

Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01505114.

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<![CDATA[Geo-spatial analysis of individual-level needle and syringe coverage in Melbourne, Australia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1d5b53d5eed0c4846eb5c8

Distance to health services is known to be negatively associated with usage and needle and syringe programs (NSPs) for people who inject drugs (PWID) are no different. Australia has a mixture of NSP modalities (primary or secondary fixed-site NSPs), which may present unique barriers to access. In this study, we explore 1) the effect of distance to NSPs on individual-level needle and syringe coverage, and 2) differences in coverage dependent on NSP modality. Using data from 219 PWID in an ongoing cohort study in Melbourne, Australia, we measured the straight-line distance from participants’ residence to their nearest primary or secondary fixed-site NSP. We analysed the relationship between geographical distance and coverage via regression analysis. The median distance to any type of NSP was 1872 metres. Regardless of service type, 52% of participants lived within 2 kms of a fixed-site NSP and 87% lived within 5 kms. We found no association between distance to NSPs and syringe coverage or a significant difference in coverage by nearest service type. Our findings suggest that the number and distribution of NSPs in Melbourne, Australia caters adequately for the population of PWID.

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<![CDATA[Trends in use of prescription stimulants in the United States and Territories, 2006 to 2016]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c084194d5eed0c484fca1e5

Background

Stimulants are considered the first-line treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the US and they are used in other indications. Stimulants are also diverted for non-medical purposes. Ethnic and regional differences in ADHD diagnosis and in stimulant use have been identified in earlier research. The objectives of this report were to examine the pharmacoepidemiological pattern of these controlled substances over the past decade and to conduct a regional analysis.

Methods

Data (drug weights) reported to the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System for four stimulants (amphetamine, methylphenidate, lisdexamfetamine, and methamphetamine) were obtained from 2006 to 2016 for Unites States/Territories. Correlations between state level use (mg/person) and Hispanic population were completed.

Results

Amphetamine use increased 2.5 fold from 2006 to 2016 (7.9 to 20.0 tons). Methylphenidate use, at 16.5 tons in 2006, peaked in 2012 (19.4 tons) and subsequently showed a modest decline (18.6 tons in 2016). The consumption per municipality significantly increased 7.6% for amphetamine and 5.5% for lisdexamfetamine but decreased 2.7% for methylphenidate (all p < .0005) from 2015 to 2016. Pronounced regional differences were also observed. Lisdexamfetamine use in 2016 was over thirty-fold higher in the Southern US (43.8 mg/person) versus the Territories (1.4 mg/person). Amphetamine use was about one-third lower in the West (48.1 mg/person) relative to the Northeastern (75.4 mg/person, p < .05) or the Midwestern (69.9 mg/person, p ≤ .005) states. States with larger Hispanic populations had significantly lower methylphenidate (r(49) = -0.63), lisdexamfetamine (B, r(49) = -0.49), and amphetamine (r(49) = -0.43) use.

Conclusions

Total stimulant usage doubled in the last decade. There were dynamic changes but also regional disparities in the use of stimulant medications. Future research is needed to better understand the reasons for the sizable regional and ethnic variations in use of these controlled substances.

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<![CDATA[HIV-1 infection among crack cocaine users in a region far from the epicenter of the HIV epidemic in Brazil: Prevalence and molecular characteristics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b600f8b463d7e3af00e5a90

Brazil has the largest cocaine market in South America, and crack cocaine use is closely associated with HIV-1 infection. This study investigated the prevalence, risk factors, and HIV-1 subtypes, including recombinant forms and mutations associated with drug resistance, among crack cocaine users in Central-West Brazil. We recruited 600 crack cocaine users admitted to a referral hospital in Goiânia for psychiatric disorders. The participants were interviewed; blood samples were collected for anti-HIV-1/2 serological screening. HIV-1 pol gene sequences (entire protease [PR] and partial reverse transcriptase [RT]) were obtained from plasma RNA. HIV-1 subtypes, recombinant viruses, transmitted drug resistance (TDR), and secondary drug resistance mutations were investigated. The median participant age was 30 years (range, 18–68 years); most were male, single, unemployed, and of mixed races. Among them, 2.8% (17/600) were HIV-1 positive: 2.2% of men (11/507) and 6.5% of women (6/93). The main predictors of HIV-1 seropositivity were a sexual partner with HIV infection, irregular condom use, and previous homelessness. HIV-1 pol sequences (12/17) indicated the predominance of subtype B (n = 7), followed by recombinant forms FPR/BRT (n = 1) and BPR/FRT (n = 2) and subtypes F1 (n = 1) and C (n = 1). TDR prevalence was 58.3% (7/12). Isolates from two participants showed mutations associated with resistance to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) only (M41L, T125C, T125F, M184V), while an isolate from one patient who had received antiretroviral therapy (ART) since 2008 had a mutation associated with resistance to non-NRTI (G190S). Five isolates had secondary mutations to protease inhibitors (K20M, L10V, L33I, A71T, A71V). In conclusion, the findings of HIV-1 circulation, TDR to NRTI, and secondary mutations to protease inhibitors in ART-naïve crack cocaine users support the importance of monitoring this population in regions far from the epicenter of the HIV epidemic.

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<![CDATA[Oxytocin receptor gene variations and socio-emotional effects of MDMA: A pooled analysis of controlled studies in healthy subjects]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b498f9a463d7e0897c6e016

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) increases oxytocin, empathy, and prosociality. Oxytocin plays a critical role in emotion processing and social behavior and has been shown to mediate the prosocial effects of MDMA in animals. Genetic variants, such as single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) may influence the emotional and social effects of MDMA in humans. The effects of common genetic variants of the OXTR (rs53576, rs1042778, and rs2254298 SNPs) on the emotional, empathogenic, and prosocial effects of MDMA were characterized in up to 132 healthy subjects in a pooled analysis of eight double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. In a subset of 53 subjects, MDMA produced significantly greater feelings of trust in rs1042778 TT genotypes compared with G allele carriers. The rs53576 and rs225498 SNPs did not moderate the subjective effects of MDMA in up to 132 subjects. None of the SNPs moderated MDMA-induced impairments in negative facial emotion recognition or enhancements in emotional empathy in the Multifaceted Empathy Test in 69 subjects. MDMA significantly increased plasma oxytocin concentrations. MDMA and oxytocin concentrations did not differ between OXTR gene variants. The present results provide preliminary evidence that OXTR gene variations may modulate aspects of the prosocial subjective effects of MDMA in humans. However, interpretation should be cautious due to the small sample size. Additionally, OXTR SNPs did not moderate the subjective overall effect of MDMA (any drug effect) or feelings of “closeness to others”.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov, No: NCT00886886, NCT00990067, NCT01136278, NCT01270672, NCT01386177, NCT01465685, NCT01771874, and NCT01951508.

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<![CDATA[Using Poison Center Exposure Calls to Predict Methadone Poisoning Deaths]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d5ab0ee8fa60b659be

Purpose

There are more drug overdose deaths in the Untied States than motor vehicle fatalities. Yet the US vital statistics reporting system is of limited value because the data are delayed by four years. Poison centers report data within an hour of the event, but previous studies suggested a small proportion of poisoning deaths are reported to poison centers (PC). In an era of improved electronic surveillance capabilities, exposure calls to PCs may be an alternate indicator of trends in overdose mortality.

Methods

We used PC call counts for methadone that were reported to the Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS®) System in 2006 and 2007. US death certificate data were used to identify deaths due to methadone. Linear regression was used to quantify the relationship of deaths and poison center calls.

Results

Compared to decedents, poison center callers tended to be younger, more often female, at home and less likely to require medical attention. A strong association was found with PC calls and methadone mortality (b = 0.88, se = 0.42, t = 9.5, df = 1, p<0.0001, R2 = 0.77). These findings were robust to large changes in a sensitivity analysis assessing the impact of underreporting of methadone overdose deaths.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that calls to poison centers for methadone are correlated with poisoning mortality as identified on death certificates. Calls received by poison centers may be used for timely surveillance of mortality due to methadone. In the midst of the prescription opioid overdose epidemic, electronic surveillance tools that report in real-time are powerful public health tools.

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<![CDATA[Effects of MDMA Injections on the Behavior of Socially-Housed Long-Tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da31ab0ee8fa60b84987

3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methyl amphetamine (MDMA) is one of the few known molecules to increase human and rodent prosocial behaviors. However, this effect has never been assessed on the social behavior of non-human primates. In our study, we subcutaneously injected three different doses of MDMA (1.0, 1.5 or 2.0mg/kg) to a group of three, socially housed, young male long-tailed macaques. More than 200 hours of behavioral data were recorded, during 68 behavioral sessions, by an automatic color-based video device that tracked the 3D positions of each animal and of a toy. This data was then categorized into 5 exclusive behaviors (resting, locomotion, foraging, social contact and object play). In addition, received and given social grooming was manually scored. Results show several significant dose-dependent behavioral effects. At 1.5mg/kg only, MDMA induces a significant increase in social grooming behavior, thus confirming the prosocial effect of MDMA in macaques. Additionally, at 1.5 and 2.0 mg/kg MDMA injection substantially decreases foraging behavior, which is consistent with the known anorexigenic effect of this compound. Furthermore, at 2.0 mg/kg MDMA injection induces an increase in locomotor behavior, which is also in accordance with its known stimulant property. Interestingly, MDMA injected at 1.0mg/kg increases the rate of object play, which might be interpreted as a decrease of the inhibition to manipulate a unique object in presence of others, or, as an increase of the intrinsic motivation to manipulate this object. Together, our results support the effectiveness of MDMA to study the complex neurobiology of primates’ social behaviors.

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