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.

Link to Abstract
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 – Current Issue

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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