Published since 1884 by the Society for the Study of Addiction.
Editor-in-Chief, Robert West

This is a quick summary of the main discovery for each research paper we have published, organized issue by issue. The article titles are in bold and each key finding is below the article title.  Use the filters below to isolate key findings for each issue or search for a particular topic across all of this year's issues.

January 2017

Social cognition in alcohol use disorder: a meta-analysis

Alcohol use disorder appears to be associated with significant impairment in facial emotion recognition and theory of mind (the capacity to attribute mental states to oneself and others).

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Steep delay discounting and addictive behavior: a meta-analysis of continuous associations

Delayed reward discounting (preferring smaller immediate rewards over larger delayed rewards) is more prevalent in people with a range of addictive disorders.

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Effects of sex and alcohol use on antiretroviral therapy outcomes in Botswana: a cohort study

Alcohol use among HIV-infected adults in Botswana appears to worsen HIV treatment outcomes.

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High-intensity drinking by underage young adults in the United States

Young adult underage binge drinking, high-intensity drinking, and intoxication are relatively common in the USA. Four-year college students and young adults living away from parents are more likely to engage in high-intensity drinking than their peers.

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Is online information on ecstasy tablet content safe?

Pillreports and Partyflock website reports tend to overestimate MDMA concentrations in ecstasy tablets. Also, 15% of reports omit the concentration spread, fail to report additional illegal or dangerous substances, or underestimate MDMA concentration by >40 mg.

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Prescription opioid poisoning across urban and rural areas: identifying vulnerable groups and geographic areas

In California USA from 2001-11, hospital discharge rates for prescription opioid poisoning spread from rural and suburban/exurban hot-spots to urban areas, suggesting spatial contagion.

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The genetic basis of the comorbidity between cannabis use and major depression

There appears to be a significant genetic overlap between cannabis use and major depression among Mexican Americans, localized to a region on chromosome 11q23 that has been linked previously to these phenotypes.

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Effects of accountable care and payment reform on substance use disorder treatment: evidence from the initial 3 years of the alternative quality contract

A global payment and accountable care model introduced in Massachusetts, USA did not greatly change substance use disorder service use during the first 3 years following implementation.

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Motivational, reduction and usual care interventions for smokers who are not ready to quit: a randomized controlled trial

Among adult smokers not ready to quit, telephone interventions designed to motivate quitting or smoking reduction did not increase the odds of making a quit attempt at 6 months. The motivational intervention appeared to increase abstinence at 6 months and did increase it at 12 months. The smoking-reduction intervention did not increase abstinence at 6 months but appeared to increase it at 12 months.

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Reduced nicotine content cigarettes and use of alternative nicotine products: exploratory trial

The offer of, and instructions to use, reduced nicotine content cigarettes may lead to greater use of alternative tobacco/nicotine products compared with continued use of normal nicotine cigarettes and also reductions in smoking rates.

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Development of a proto-typology of opiate overdose onset

There are different types of opiate overdose onset, pointing to the need for a range of interventions, including strategies for self-administration of naloxone.

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February 2017

Effectiveness of pharmacy-based needle/syringe exchange programme for people who inject drugs: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Pharmacy-based needle/syringe exchange programmes appear to be effective for reducing risk behaviours among people who inject drugs, although their effect on HIV/HCV prevalence and economic outcomes is unclear.

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The role of birth cohorts in long-term trends in liver cirrhosis mortality across eight European countries

The inclusion of the birth cohort dimension improves the understanding of alcohol-attributable mortality trends in Europe.

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The effect of liquor licensing restrictions on assault: a quasi-experimental study in Sydney, Australia

Restrictions on the availability of alcohol appear to reduce the incidence of assault.

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A momentary exposures analysis of proximity to alcohol outlets and risk for assault

People in areas with greater densities of bars, restaurants and beer stores appear to be at increased risk for non-gun assault at these outlets' times of heaviest patronage.

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Trajectories of cannabis use disorder: risk factors, clinical characteristics and outcomes

Evidence suggests three distinguishable types of trajectory for development of cannabis use disorder starting in early teens: (1) persistent increasing risk; (2) maturing out, with increasing risk then decreasing risk; and (3) stable low risk.

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What happened to the HIV epidemic among non-injecting drug users in New York City?

HIV prevalence has declined in New York City (NYC), USA and a high percentage of HIV-positive non-injecting drug users (NIDUs) are receiving antiretroviral treatment, suggesting an end to the HIV epidemic among NIDUs in NYC.

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Evaluating the impact of a national naloxone programme on ambulance attendance at overdose incidents: a controlled time-series analysis

The supply of take-home naloxone kits through a national programme in Scotland was not associated clearly with a decrease in ambulance attendance at opioid-related overdose incidents in the 4-year period after it was implemented in April 2011.

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Physician attitudes and experiences with Maryland's prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP)

In a survey of Maryland, USA physicians, most participants reported that prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) improved their opioid prescribing by decreasing prescription amounts and increasing their comfort with prescribing opioids.

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Impact of laws restricting the sale of tobacco to minors on adolescent smoking and perceived obtainability of cigarettes: an intervention-control pre-post study of 19 European Union countries

Laws prohibiting the sales of tobacco to minors in Europe do not appear to be associated with a reduction in adolescent smoking rates, but they lower the perceived obtainability of cigarettes.

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What a difference a day makes: differences in initial abstinence response during a smoking cessation attempt

More than one-third of people quitting smoking report extreme craving, negative affective or hunger responses on their quit day. These withdrawal symptom patterns are related to baseline characteristics, treatment and cessation success.

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Do never smokers make up an increasing share of snus users as cigarette smoking declines? Changes in smoking status among male snus users in Norway 2003-15

Despite a decline in smoking prevalence, the majority of snus users in Norway are still former or current smokers.

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Impact of smoking reduced nicotine content cigarettes on sensitivity to cigarette price: further results from a multi-site clinical trial

In current smokers, a reduction in nicotine content may reduce cigarette consumption, reduce the reinforcement value of cigarettes and increase cessation if reduced nicotine content cigarettes are the only cigarette available for purchase.

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The neurobiology of addiction: the perspective from magnetic resonance imaging present and future

The magnetic resonance imaging literature provides a limited but convergent picture of the neurobiology of addiction as global changes to brain structure and functional disturbances to frontostriatal circuitry, accompanied by changes in anterior white matter.

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March 2017

Cigarette smoking and depression comorbidity: systematic review and proposed theoretical model

A new application of incentive learning theory posits that depressed smokers experience greater increases in the expected value of smoking in the face three motivational states: low positive affect, high negative affect and cognitive impairment.

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Tincture of opium for treating opioid dependence: a systematic review of safety and efficacy

Given the current evidence, it isn't possible to make conclusive recommendations about the safety and efficacy of opium tincture for treating opioid dependence.

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Drinking with mixed-gender groups is associated with heavy weekend drinking among young adults

Young adults report consuming more drinks per hour when drinking with mixed-gender groups than with same-gender groups.

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Acute alcohol effects on set-shifting and its moderation by baseline individual differences: a latent variable analysis

Practising tasks before drinking moderates the acute effects of alcohol on the ability to switch between tasks.

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Patient-centered methadone treatment: a randomized clinical trial

Patient-centered methadone treatment (with optional counseling and with the counselor not serving as the treatment program disciplinarian) does not appear to be more effective than methadone treatment-as-usual.

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Pharmaceutical sales of pseudoephedrine: the impact of electronic tracking systems on methamphetamine crime incidents

Electronic tracking systems can reduce people's capacity to produce methamphetamine domestically, but seem unlikely to affect methamphetamine possession, distribution and importation.

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Assessment of rates of recanting and hair testing as a biological measure of drug use in a general population sample of young people

Hair analysis provides an unreliable marker of substance use in general population samples. People who report more frequent substance use before age 18 are less likely to later deny previous substance use at age 18 than people who report occasional use.

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Drug-caused deaths in Australian medical practitioners and health-care professionals

Between 2003 and 2013, Australian health-care professionals averaged 37 deaths per year attributed to drug toxicity, with a mortality rate of nearly five deaths per 1000 employed HCPs.

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Child maltreatment and cannabis use in young adulthood: a birth cohort study

Children in Australia documented as having been maltreated are more likely to use cannabis 1) before 17, 2) as an adult, and 3) daily and meet DSM-IV criteria for cannabis dependence.

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Randomized controlled pilot trial of naloxone-on-release to prevent post-prison opioid overdose deaths

Large randomized trials of naloxone to prevent opioid deaths are feasible with prison populations. Giving prisoners take-home emergency naloxone prior to release may prevent heroin overdose deaths among ex-prisoners and the wider population.

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Demographic trends among older cannabis users in the United States, 2006-13

The prevalence of cannabis use has increased significantly in recent years among US adults aged ≥ 50 years.

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The effects of tobacco smoking on age of onset of psychosis and psychotic symptoms in a first-episode psychosis population

Smokers do not appear to have a significantly earlier age of psychosis onset than non-smokers after taking into account cannabis use and gender.

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A school-based programme for tobacco and alcohol prevention in special education: effectiveness of the modified 'healthy school and drugs' intervention and moderation by school subtype

The Healthy School and Drugs programme adapted for secondary special education in the Netherlands lacked clear evidence for effects on all outcomes.

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April 2017

Alcohol use disorder and divorce: evidence for a genetic correlation in a population-based Swedish sample

Divorce and alcohol use disorder are correlated strongly in the Swedish population, and the heritability of divorce is consistent with previous studies.

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Alcohol use among fatally injured victims in Sao Paulo, Brazil: bridging the gap between research and health services in developing countries

Nearly one-third of fatal injuries in Sao Paulo between June 2014 and December 2015 were alcohol-related, with traffic accidents showing a greater association with alcohol use than other injuries.

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Alcohol consumption during adolescence is associated with reduced grey matter volumes

Excessive alcohol use during adolescence appears to be associated with an abnormal development of the brain grey matter. Structural changes in the insula of alcohol users may reflect reduced sensitivity to alcohol's negative subjective effects.

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Concurrent polysubstance use in a longitudinal study of US youth: associations with sexual orientation

Sexual minority youth in the US appear to be at disproportionate risk for concurrent past-year polysubstance use compared with their same-gender, completely heterosexual youth.

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Fatal acute poisonings in Australian children (2003-13)

In Australia between 2003 and 2013 there were on average eight acute poisoning deaths in children each year, most commonly involving prescription opioids and adolescents, with a downward trend in mortality since 2003.

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Purity, adulteration and price of drugs bought on-line versus off-line in the Netherlands

Dutch drug users increasingly purchase drugs on-line, especially new psychoactive substances. Purity and adulteration do not vary considerably between drugs purchased on-line and off-line for most substances, but on-line prices are mostly higher than off-line prices.

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Childhood cognitive ability and smoking initiation, relapse and cessation throughout adulthood: evidence from two British cohort studies

Lower cognitive ability, measured in childhood before smoking is initiated, appears to predict a higher likelihood of taking up smoking and a lower likelihood of quitting in adulthood. Educational attainment appears to mediate this effect.

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Neural mechanisms underlying visual attention to health warnings on branded and plain cigarette packs

Based on functional magnetic resonance imaging and eye-tracking data, health warnings appear to be more noticeable on 'plain' cigarette packs than branded packs.

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How do text-messaging smoking cessation interventions confer benefit? A multiple mediation analysis of Text2Quit

Text-messaging programs for smoking cessation appear to work by promoting improvements in the psychosocial processes related to quitting rather than through the use of additional smoking cessation services.

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Cannabis use during treatment for alcohol use disorders predicts alcohol treatment outcomes

People who use cannabis while undergoing treatment for an alcohol use disorder have fewer days of alcohol abstinence at the end of treatment compared with non-cannabis users; however, this relationship is present only among those who use cannabis once or twice per month.

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Testing bidirectional associations among emotion regulation strategies and substance use: a daily diary study

There appear to be reciprocal relationships among emotion regulation strategies and substance use: greater daytime use of distraction, reappraisal, and problem solving predicts lower evening substance use, while higher evening substance use predicts higher next-day avoidance and reappraisal but lower next-day problem-solving.

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Coverage of alcohol consumption by national surveys in South Africa

Evidence suggests that less than 20% of the total adult per-capita alcohol consumption in South Africa is reported in surveys.

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The relationship between gestational age and the severity of neonatal abstinence syndrome

Gestational age (pre-term, term or late term) at birth appears to be unrelated to the need for pharmacotherapy to treat neonatal abstinence syndrome in late pre-term and term infants. Treatment may tend to be given for longer in term than pre-term or late term infants.

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The potential of neuroimaging for identifying predictors of adolescent alcohol use initiation and misuse

Neuroimaging data have the potential to be much better predictors of alcohol use than they currently are.

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May 2017

A systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between poor oral health and substance abuse

Dental patients with substance use disorders have more tooth decay and periodontal disease than the general population, but are less likely to receive dental care.

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Identifying in-patient costs attributable to the clinical sequelae and comorbidities of alcoholic liver disease in a national hospital database

Costs of hospital care for patients with alcoholic liver disease are higher than those for patients with other alcohol-related diagnoses.

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Adolescent drinking--a touch of social class?

Adolescent drinking in Norway appears to be related inversely to parents' social standing. The elevated risk of low socio-economic status vanishes when general parenting, alcohol-related parental permissiveness and parents' drinking are accounted for.

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Positive and negative affectivity as risk factors for heavy drinking in the second half of life: a prospective cohort study

Norwegian adults aged 40-80 years with a high tendency to experience negative emotions are at greater risk of heavy drinking approximately 5 years later than those with a low tendency to experience negative emotions.

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Understanding the alcohol harm paradox: an analysis of sex- and condition-specific hospital admissions by socio-economic group for alcohol-associated conditions in England

In England, socio-economic differences in harmful drinking patterns (specifically, conditions associated with dependence and intoxication) may contribute to the 'alcohol harm paradox', in which people of low socioeconomic status have higher levels of alcohol-related ill health than people of higher status despite drinking the same amounts of alcohol.

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Receipt of addiction treatment as a consequence of a brief intervention for drug use in primary care: a randomized trial

Brief intervention delivered in primary care for screen-identified drug use does not appear to increase addiction treatment receipt significantly; a motivational interviewing approach appears to be counterproductive.

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Effects of incentives for naltrexone adherence on opiate abstinence in heroin-dependent adults

Incentives for naltrexone adherence increase opiate abstinence in heroin-dependent adults, an effect that appears to be caused by the increased naltrexone adherence produced by the incentives.

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The costs of crime during and after publicly funded treatment for opioid use disorders: a population-level study for the state of California

In publicly funded drug treatment facilities in California, USA, engagement in treatment for opioid use disorders is associated with lower costs of crime in the 6 months following initiation of treatment, and the economic benefits are far greater for individuals receiving time-unlimited treatment.

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Adolescents at risk for drug abuse: a 3-year dual-process analysis

Drug-relevant memory associations play a key role in drug use behavior in at-risk youth.

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Factors associated with short-term transitions of non-daily smokers: socio-demographic characteristics and other tobacco product use

The likelihood that a non-daily tobacco smoker in the US will remain a stable non-daily smoker or transition to either daily use or non-use is associated with socio-demographic factors and current use of cigars and smokeless tobacco.

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Nationwide access to an internet-based contingency management intervention to promote smoking cessation: a randomized controlled trial

A contingency management/financial incentive program delivered via the internet improved short-term smoking abstinence rates compared with an internet program without the incentives.

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Neural responses to negative outcomes predict success in community-based substance use treatment

An elevated response to unexpected negative feedback in parts of the brain (specifically bilateral amygdala and anterior hippocampus) appears to predict relapse to substance use in people attending community-based treatment.

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Trends in serious quit attempts in the United States, 2009-14

The proportion of US smokers making a serious quit attempt has increased since 2009, due to an upward trend since 2011. The 2014 serious quit attempt rate was 55.0%.

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A SMART data analysis method for constructing adaptive treatment strategies for substance use disorders

Q-learning (a new data analysis method) can inform the development of more cost-effective, adaptive treatment strategies for treating substance use disorders.

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June 2017 – Current Issue

Model-based economic evaluations in smoking cessation and their transferability to new contexts: a systematic review

Existing economic evaluations of smoking cessation interventions lack information on one or more key study attributes necessary to be fully transferable to a new context.

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The relationship between different dimensions of alcohol use and the burden of disease--an update

Research since 2010 confirms the importance of alcohol use as a risk factor for disease and injuries; for some health outcomes, more than one dimension of use needs to be considered.

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Effects of increased alcohol availability during adolescence on the risk of all-cause and cause-specific disability pension: a natural experiment

In Sweden exposure to increased alcohol availability during adolescence appears to be associated with an increased risk of receiving a disability pension in later life.

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Passengers at risk: a multi-level analysis of the decision to travel with a drunk driver

In Chile, men are at higher risk than women of being a passenger with an alcohol-impaired driver (PAID).

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A preliminary randomized controlled trial of contingency management for alcohol use reduction using a transdermal alcohol sensor

Cash incentives linked to a transdermal alcohol sensor can reduce heavy alcohol consumption while the incentives are in operation.

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Non-buprenorphine opioid utilization among patients using buprenorphine

The use of buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder has increased markedly in the United States, but a substantial proportion of patients fill prescriptions for non-buprenorphine opioids during and following such treatment.

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Trajectories of heroin use: 10-11-year findings from the Australian Treatment Outcome Study

Heroin users in Australia show widely varying patterns of use over a 10-year period and it is proving difficult to predict which users will show which pattern.

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Barriers to access to opioid medicines for patients with opioid dependence: a review of legislation and regulations in eleven central and eastern European countries

Patients in Eastern Europe with opioid dependence are likely to experience additional barriers to accessing opioids over and above those experienced by non-dependent patients.

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Dropout in clinical trials of pharmacological treatment for methamphetamine dependence: the role of initial abstinence

Participants in randomized controlled trials of pharmacological treatments for methamphetamine use disorder who are able to achieve a brief period of early abstinence are retained longer in the trials and are less likely to drop out overall.

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Trait and neurobiological underpinnings of negative emotion regulation in gambling disorder

Gambling disorder is associated with greater use of emotional suppression and middle frontal gyrus activation for regulating negative emotions, compared with healthy controls; both are linked with negative emotion-driven impulsivity in this disorder.

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Attrition during a randomized controlled trial of reduced nicotine content cigarettes as a proxy for understanding acceptability of nicotine product standards

Participant drop-out in a 35-day trial of varying levels of reduced nicotine content cigarettes was greater for cigarettes with lower nicotine content and less in smokers reporting more favourable subjective ratings of the cigarettes.

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Feasibility and safety of extended-release naltrexone treatment of opioid and alcohol use disorder in HIV clinics: a pilot/feasibility randomized trial

Extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) is feasible and safe for treatment of opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder in HIV clinics. Treatment initiation appears to be lower and retention greater for XR-NTX compared with treatment as usual.

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Life-time history of insomnia and hypersomnia symptoms as correlates of alcohol, cocaine and heroin use and relapse among adults seeking substance use treatment in the United States from 1991 to 1994

There is evidence of an adverse association between substance use and sleep disturbance, which includes higher frequency of all substance use before substance misuse treatment and higher rates of cocaine use after a treatment episode.

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