Published since 1884 by the Society for the Study of Addiction.
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Key Findings 2015

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.

July 2015 – Current Issue

A comparison of the efficacy of brief interventions to reduce hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption between European and non-European countries

Brief interventions appear to be effective in reducing weekly alcohol consumption by hazardous and harmful drinkers at 6 and 12 month follow-up in both primary health care and emergency department trials. Link to Abstract

Educational inequalities in hospitalisation attributable to alcohol: a population-based longitudinal study of changes over the period 2000 to 2007

Lower educational level is markedly associated with increased risk of alcohol-related hospitalisation among men and women in Finland. Link to Abstract

Effectiveness of a selective intervention program targeting personality risk factors for alcohol misuse among young adolescents: Results of a cluster randomized controlled trial

The alcohol prevention programme Preventure appears to have little or no effect on overall prevalence of binge drinking in adolescents in the Netherlands but may reduce the development of binge drinking over time. Link to Abstract

Parental transmission of risk for cannabis use disorders to offspring

Parental histories of antisocial personality and illicit substance use disorders are associated with increased risk for cannabis use disorder onset in offspring. Link to Abstract

The impact of paying treatment providers for outcomes: Difference-indifferences analysis of the 'payment by results for drugs recovery' pilot

In the first year of the pilot "Payment by Results for Drugs Recovery" scheme in England, linking payments to outcomes reduced the probability of completing drug misuse treatment and increased the proportion service users declining to continue with treatment. Link to Abstract

Economic crisis and changes in drug use in the Spanish economically active population

During a period of economic recession in Spain, heavy drinking decreased and binge drinking increased. Sporadic cannabis use increased among older unemployed men and women. Heavy use of hypnotics/sedatives increased among employed men while older women increased use irrespective of employment status. Link to Abstract

4-Fluoroamphetamine in the Netherlands: more than a one-night stand

The stimulant 4-fluoroamphetamine is increasingly popular in the Netherlands, which might be due to its subjective effects profile, which lies between amphetamine and MDMA. Link to Abstract

The health consequences of injecting tablet preparations: foreign body pulmonary embolization and pulmonary hypertension among deceased injecting drug users

Cases of foreign body pulmonary embolization (resulting from injecting crushed tablets meant for oral use, such as benzodiazepines and pharmaceutical opioids) in Sydney, Australia increased markedly from 1997 to 2013. Link to Abstract

Incarceration and injection drug use in Baltimore, Maryland

In the United States, incarceration of people who had previously stopped injecting drugs appears to be associated with an increased risk of subsequent injecting. Link to Abstract

Is the use of electronic cigarettes while smoking associated with smoking cessation attempts, cessation and reduced cigarette consumption? A survey with a 1-year follow-up

Daily use of e-cigarettes while smoking appears to be associated with subsequent increases in rates of attempting to stop smoking and reducing smoking, but not with smoking cessation. Link to Abstract

Trends and timing of cigarette smoking uptake among US young adults: survival analysis using annual national cohorts from 1976 to 2005

Among high school seniors in the United States, taking up occasional and experimental smoking increased from 1976 to 2005. Smoking uptake remained most likely to occur at age 19/20, but prevalence of uptake at older ages increased. Link to Abstract

Abstinence and relapse amongst smokers who use varenicline in a quit attempt - a pooled analysis of randomized controlled trials

Varenicline does a better job than placebo at getting smokers to quit after they have failed to stop smoking on their target quit date. Relapse rates from end of treatment to 52 weeks are similar in varenicline and placebo treated smokers. Link to Abstract

A randomized controlled trial of treatments for co-occurring substance use disorders and PTSD

Integrated cognitive behavioral therapy may improve drug-related outcomes in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sufferers with substance use disorder more than drug focused counseling but probably not by reducing PTSD symptoms to a greater extent. Link to Abstract

June 2015

Global Statistics on Addiction Behaviours: 2014 Status Report

A major new global report on addictive behaviour shows that the harm to society from legal drugs far outweighs the harm from illicit drugs: 240 million people have an alcohol use disorder and more than 1 billion people smoke tobacco. Link to Abstract

The efficacy of acamprosate and naltrexone in the treatment of alcohol dependence, Europe versus the rest of the world: a meta-analysis

Both acamprosate and naltrexone appear to reduce the risk of alcohol-dependent individuals returning to drinking. Link to Abstract

The harmful dysfunction model of alcohol use disorder: revised criteria to improve the validity of diagnosis and prevalence estimates

Diagnostic validity improves when using 'harmful dysfunction' diagnostic criteria compared with standard DSM criteria, partly by reducing misdiagnosis of teenage transient drinkers. Link to Abstract

Heterogeneous dose-response and college student drinking: examining problem risks related to low drinking levels

Among US college students, all drinkers exhibit greater risks for physiological problems related to alcohol use (hangover, nausea, memory loss, etc.) when drinking greater amounts of alcohol, but heavier drinkers exhibit fewer problems for each additional drink consumed than light and moderate drinkers. Link to Abstract

The impact of extended closing times of alcohol outlets on alcohol-related injuries in the nightlife areas of Amsterdam: a controlled before-and-after evaluation

A 1-hour extension of alcohol outlet closing times in some of Amsterdam's nightlife areas was associated with 34% more alcohol-related injuries. Link to Abstract

Is there a link between per capita alcohol consumption and youth drinking? A time-series analysis for Sweden in 1972-2012

Adult and youth drinking in Sweden were synchronized closely during the two last decades of the 20th century, but youth drinking developed an independent trajectory shortly before 2000. Link to Abstract

Hepatitis C virus treatment as prevention among injecting drug users: who should we cure first?

When more than half of all exchanged syringes in a population of injecting drug users (IDU) are contaminated by hepatitis C virus, it is most efficient to treat low-risk IDU first. Below this threshold, it is most efficient to treat high-risk IDU first. Link to Abstract

Long-term mortality, remission, criminality and psychiatric comorbidity of heroin dependence: 11-year findings from the Australian Treatment Outcome Study

In an 11-year follow-up of patients undergoing treatment for heroin dependence in Australia, 10.2% had died and almost half were still in treatment. The proportion still using heroin had fallen to a quarter, with major depression being a significant predictor of continued use. Link to Abstract

Mortality among individuals accessing pharmacological treatment for opioid dependence in California, 2006-10

In people with opiate dependence, detoxification and methadone maintenance treatment both independently reduce the immediate risk of death. Link to Abstract

Opioid treatment at release from jail using extended-release naltrexone: a pilot proof-of-concept randomized effectiveness trial

Extended-release naltrexone is associated with significantly lower rates of opioid relapse among men in the United States following release from jail when compared with a no medication treatment-as-usual condition. Link to Abstract

Examining the association between substance use disorder treatment and smoking cessation

Being recently in receipt of substance use disorder treatment is associated with reduced chances of stopping smoking. Link to Abstract

An exploratory short-term double-blind randomized trial of varenicline versus nicotine patch for smoking cessation in women

Varenicline appears to be better at helping women stop smoking than does nicotine patch. Link to Abstract

Craving and Substance Use among Patients with Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis or Heroin Addiction: A Comparison of Substance-specific and Person-specific Cues

Person-specific cues for substance abuse (e.g. places associated with use) appear to be powerful triggers for craving and relapse and to persist for longer than more general cues relating to taking drugs. Link to Abstract

May 2015

Effects of Experimental Negative Affect Manipulations on Ad Lib Smoking: A Meta-Analysis

A review of experimental studies confirms that feeling bad increases intensity of smoking. Link to Abstract

Prevalence of alcohol use disorders in mainland China: a systematic review

Current and lifetime prevalence estimates of alcohol dependence in China measure 2.2% and 3.7%, respectively, approaching those of the Netherlands, USA, and other Western countries. Link to Abstract

Personality, negative affect coping, and drinking alone: a structural equation modeling approach to examine correlates of adolescent solitary drinking

Ability to resist drinking when feeling bad could be what is driving the link between poorer mental health, impulsiveness and tendency to drink alone in adolescents. Link to Abstract

Developmental progression to early adult binge drinking and marijuana use from worsening versus stable trajectories of adolescent ADHD and delinquency

Adolescents who show worsening inattention symptoms as they grow older and delinquency tend to have increased levels of substance use in early adulthood. Link to Abstract

Hepatitis C seroconversion in methadone maintenance treatment programs in Wuhan, China

Methadone maintenance treatment patients in Wuhan, China show a high prevalence of hepatitis C virus at admission (72.1%) and a high rate of seroconversion during treatment (46.3%). Seroconversion is associated with continuing injection drug use. Link to Abstract

US federal cocaine essential ('precursor') chemical regulation impacts on US cocaine availability: an intervention time-series analysis with temporal replication

In the United States, controls of chemicals critical to cocaine manufacture from 1989 to 2006 seemed to be highly effective in reducing cocaine availability. Link to Abstract

Prolonged hypogonadism in males following withdrawal from anabolic-androgenic steroids: an under-recognized problem

Male long-term anabolic-androgenic steroid misusers tend to experience prolonged low testosterone levels when they stop using the drugs leading to substantial effects on sexual functioning. Link to Abstract

Randomized controlled trial of motivational interviewing for reducing injection risk behaviours among persons who inject drugs

A brief motivational interviewing intervention was more effective than a brief educational intervention in reducing some high risk drug injecting behaviours in the 6 months following the intervention. Link to Abstract

Prevalence of Internet Gaming Disorder in German adolescents: diagnostic contribution of the nine DSM-5 criteria in a statewide representative sample

Using the DSM-5 criteria for diagnosing Internet gaming disorder (IGD), symptoms related to "giving up other activities," "tolerance" and "withdrawal" seem to be most relevant for diagnosing IGD in German students aged 13-18 years. Link to Abstract

Efficacy of a smoking prevention programme in Catalan secondary schools: a cluster-randomized controlled trial in Spain

A school-based educational intervention for secondary school students in Catalonia, Spain was not found to lead to a noticeable reduction of smoking, confirming yet again the limitations of this kind of approach. Link to Abstract

The comparative efficacy of first- versus second-generation electronic cigarettes in reducing symptoms of nicotine withdrawal

Second-generation e-cigarettes (those involving refillable cartridges and looking less like cigarettes) seem to be more effective in reducing symptoms of nicotine withdrawal than do first-generation e-cigarettes. Link to Abstract

Biochemically verified smoking cessation and vaping beliefs among vape store customers

Among vapor store customers in the US who use electronic nicotine delivery devices to stop smoking, vaping longer, using newer generation devices, and using non-tobacco and non-menthol flavoured e-liquid appear to be associated with higher rates of smoking cessation. Link to Abstract

April 2015

Alcohol consumption in adolescent homicide victims in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa

Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with a substantial proportion of adolescent homicides in Johannesburg, South Africa, especially among male and older adolescent victims and in victims killed with sharp instruments over the weekends and during the evenings. Link to Abstract

Factors associated with over-serving at drinking establishments

In urban settings in Norway, over-serving of alcohol in drinking establishments appears to occur frequently and increases in the presence of poor lighting, loud music and high intoxication level among patrons. Link to Abstract

Drinking experience uncovers genetic influences on alcohol expectancies across adolescence

In young people, environmental factors explain beliefs about the social and behavioural consequences of alcohol use before they experience drinking for the first time whereas genetic factors explain an increasing proportion of the variance in these beliefs after drinking onset. Link to Abstract

The impact of friends on young adults' drinking over the course of the evening--an event-level analysis

Among young adults in Switzerland, individual alcohol consumption appears to increase with the number of friends in the drinking group. Link to Abstract

A longitudinal study of the association of adolescent polydrug use, alcohol use and high school non-completion

Unsurprisingly, Australian adolescents who use multiple psychoactive drugs or who mainly use alcohol us are less likely to complete school than adolescents who do not use drugs. Link to Abstract

Benzodiazepine use among mothers of small children: a register-based cohort study

In Finland, benzodiazepine use among mothers is reduced during pregnancy and the child's first year, and then increases as the child grows older. Mothers with substance abuse and psychiatric disorders are at particularly high risk of benzodiazepine use. Link to Abstract

A longitudinal comparison of retention in buprenorphine and methadone treatment for opioid dependence in New South Wales, Australia

Although retention rates for buprenorphine treatment have improved in New South Wales, Australia, individuals starting methadone treatment still show higher retention rates. Link to Abstract

Adolescent cannabis and tobacco use and educational outcomes at age 16: birth cohort study

In England, both cannabis and tobacco use in adolescence are associated strongly with subsequent adverse educational outcomes, including low standardised test scores and leaving school with no qualifications. Link to Abstract

First- versus second-generation electronic cigarettes: predictors of choice and effects on urge to smoke and withdrawal symptoms

First- and second-generation electronic cigarettes appear to be similarly effective in reducing urges to smoke during abstinence, but second-generation devices appear to be more satisfying to users. Link to Abstract

Financial incentives for smoking cessation in pregnancy: a single-arm intervention study assessing cessation and gaming

In the UK, pregnant smokers enrolled in an incentive scheme to quit smoking appeared to achieve prolonged cessation rates comparable to those reported in US trials. Link to Abstract

Exposure to point-of-sale displays and changes in susceptibility to smoking: findings from a cohort study of school students

Adolescents in the UK who notice tobacco point-of-sale displays more often and recognise a higher number of tobacco brands appear to have an increased risk of becoming susceptible to smoking. (People who are susceptible to smoking intend to try smoking and are likely to smoke if offered a cigarette.) Link to Abstract

Adolescents' exposure to tobacco and alcohol content in YouTube music videos

Popular YouTube music videos watched by a large number of British adolescents, particularly girls, include significant tobacco and alcohol content, including branding. Link to Abstract

March 2015

DSM-IV and DSM-5 alcohol use disorder among young Swiss men

Previous studies suggest the new DSM-5 criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD) will increase the apparent prevalence of AUD. However, in a high-risk sample of young Swiss males, prevalence of AUD as diagnosed by DSM-5 was slightly lower than prevalence of DSM-IV diagnosis of dependence plus abuse. Link to Abstract

The relationship between alcohol taxes and binge drinking: evaluating new tax measures incorporating multiple tax and beverage types

When examining the association between alcohol taxes and binge drinking, use of more specific tax measures, incorporating both volume-based taxes and value-based taxes, shows stronger associations than generic measures. Link to Abstract

Alcohol-related morbidity and mortality within siblings

The association between educational status and alcohol-related morbidity and mortality is only driven by familial factors to a small degree. Link to Abstract

Genomic influences on alcohol problems in a population-based sample of young adults

Genetic influences on alcohol problems involve genes underpinning both nervous system functioning and physiological functions outside the nervous system. Link to Abstract

Driving under the influence as a turning point? A register-based study on financial and social consequences among first-time male offenders

Among men in Finland, the first drunk-driving conviction constitutes a significant life event that appears to increase the likelihood of financial problems and divorce. Link to Abstract

Drug use, health and social outcomes of hard-to-treat heroin addicts receiving supervised injectable opiate treatment: secondary outcomes from the Randomized Injectable Opioid Treatment Trial (RIOTT)

In a randomised controlled trial, supervised injectable heroin treatment and supervised injectable methadone treatment showed no benefit over optimized oral methadone in terms of wider drug use, crime, and physical and mental health within a 6-month period, despite achieving a greater reduction in street heroin use. Link to Abstract

Subtyping based on readiness and confidence: the identification of help-seeking profiles for gamblers accessing web-based counselling

Problem gamblers in Australia who seek web-based counselling comprise four distinct subgroups based on self-reported levels of readiness to change, confidence to resist the urge to gamble, and importance of change. Link to Abstract

Smoking and mortality in a prospective cohort study of elderly Chinese in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the risk of death from smoking appears to be the same for Chinese women as it is for men. Half of all deaths in Chinese smokers aged 65 years and older and a quarter of all deaths in Chinese smokers aged 85 years and older are caused by smoking-attributable diseases. Link to Abstract

Associations between use of pharmacological aids in a smoking cessation attempt and subsequent quitting activity: a population study

Smokers who have tried to quit in the past year are more likely to try to quit again within 6 months regardless of whether they used a pharmacological aid, and they are more likely to re-try aids they had used previously. Link to Abstract

Gender differences in the relationship between affect and adolescent smoking uptake

Low positive affect (low experience of positive feelings or emotions) for females, and high negative affect (high experience of negative feelings or emotions) for both males and females increases the risk of adolescents taking up smoking. Link to Abstract

Examining the role of common genetic variants on alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and illicit drug dependence

At least 20% of the variance in the generalized vulnerability to substance dependence is attributable to common genetic variations. Link to Abstract

February 2015

Familial factors associated with development of alcohol and mental health comorbidity

Maternal smoking and low mother-child warmth may lead to alcohol, mental health and comorbid disorders at age 21. Link to Abstract

Effects of anxiety sensitivity on alcohol problems: evaluating chained mediation through generalized anxiety, depression and drinking motives

Propensity to anxiety appears to lead to alcohol problems in part through drinking to deal with negative emotions. Link to Abstract

Tests of the effects of adolescent early alcohol exposures on adult outcomes

Early alcohol use and intoxication may be partly responsible for adult alcohol- and drug-related problems and antisocial behaviour. Link to Abstract

Relative risk of injury from acute alcohol consumption: modeling the dose-response relationship in emergency department data from 18 countries

Women have a higher risk of injury than men after more than three drinks. Link to Abstract

Interaction effects between the 5-hydroxy tryptamine transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) genotype and family conflict on adolescent alcohol use and misuse

Compared with non-carriers, adolescents carrying the 5-HTTLPR low-activity allele are more susceptible to the effects of family conflict on alcohol misuse. Link to Abstract

Acute alcohol use among suicide decedents in 14 US states: impacts of off-premise and on-premise alcohol outlet density

In the United States, the density of alcohol outlets in a county is positively correlated with alcohol-related suicide, especially among American Indians/Alaska Natives. Link to Abstract

Alcohol in the second half of life: do usual quantity and frequency of drinking to intoxication increase with increased drinking frequency?

Among Norwegian adults in the second half of life, increased drinking frequency appears to be associated with a small reduction in usual quantity, and a small increase in frequency of drinking to intoxication. Link to Abstract

Capturing illicit drug use where and when it happens: an ecological momentary assessment of the social, physical and activity environment of using versus craving illicit drugs

There are distinct drug using and craving environments among urban drug users, which may provide a framework for developing real-time context-sensitive interventions Link to Abstract

Smoking cessation-related weight gain--beneficial effects on muscle mass, strength and bone health

Weight gain from smoking cessation is caused by an increase in muscle mass and bone density as well as an increase in fat. Link to Abstract

The future of smoking-attributable mortality: the case of England & Wales, Denmark and the Netherlands

On current projections, smoking will continue to kill hundreds of thousands of people in Northern Europe each year for the foreseeable future. Link to Abstract

Use of stop-smoking medications in the United States before and after the introduction of varenicline

The introduction of varenicline in the United States coincided with a net increase in attempts to quit smoking and, among these, a net increase in use of stop-smoking medications. Link to Abstract

'Wide-awake drunkenness'? Investigating the association between alcohol intoxication and stimulant use in the night-time economy

Stimulants users are more likely to have prolonged sessions of heavy alcohol consumption and a range of risk-taking behaviours on a night out than those who do not use stimulants. Link to Abstract

January 2015

What has research over the past two decades revealed about the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use?

The epidemiological literature in the past 20 years shows that cannabis use increases the risk of accidents and can produce dependence, and that there are consistent associations between regular cannabis use and poor psychosocial outcomes and mental health in adulthood. Link to Abstract

Efficacy and tolerability of antidepressants in the treatment of adolescents and young adults with depression and substance use disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Antidepressant medication has a small overall effect in reducing depression in young patients with combined depressive and substance-use disorders, but does not appear to improve substance use outcomes. Link to Abstract

Patterns of change in implementation of state alcohol control policies in the United States, 1999-2011

Implementation of politically palatable but ineffective state alcohol policies increased during 1999-2011 in the United States, while the most effective policies remained underused. Link to Abstract

Alcohol expectancies in childhood: change with the onset of drinking and ability to predict adolescent drunkenness and binge drinking

Higher childhood alcohol expectations of positive effects predict earlier onset of problem drinking. Onset of alcohol use is followed by an increase in the rate of development of positive expectancies. Link to Abstract

HERMITAGE--a randomized controlled trial to reduce sexually transmitted infections and HIV risk behaviors among HIV-infected Russian drinkers

The HERMITAGE HIV risk reduction intervention does not appear to reduce sexually transmitted infections and HIV risk behaviours in Russian HIV-infected heavy drinkers compared with simply providing standard care and attention. Link to Abstract

Differences in subjective response to alcohol in heavy- and light-drinking Chinese men versus Caucasian American men

Stimulating effects of alcohol are common in Chinese male binge drinkers, as has been found in Caucasians, but alcohol appears to be less rewarding. Link to Abstract

Anabolic androgenic steroids and violent offending: confounding by polysubstance abuse among 10 365 general population men

In the general population, co-occurring polysubstance abuse explains most of the relatively strong association between any anabolic androgenic steroid use and conviction for a violent crime. Link to Abstract

Ongoing impact of HIV infection on mortality among people who inject drugs despite free antiretroviral therapy

HIV infection continues to have a persistent association with mortality rates among people who inject drugs in settings with free HIV/AIDS care, although causes of death have shifted markedly from infectious and AIDS-related causes to non-AIDS-related causes. Link to Abstract

High-frequency drug purity and price series as tools for explaining drug trends and harms in Victoria, Australia

Decreases in methamphetamine purity-adjusted price along with the bimodality of crystal methamphetamine purity may account for some of the recent increase in methamphetamine-related harm in Victoria, Australia. For a given amount spent, methamphetamine purchase power has increased and the presence of extreme purity variations may challenge individuals' control of consumption. Link to Abstract

Cost-effectiveness of rapid HCV testing and simultaneous rapid HCV and HIV testing in substance abuse treatment programs

On-site rapid hepatitis C virus and HIV testing in substance abuse treatment programs is cost-effective at a <$100,000/ quality-adjusted life year threshold in the US. Link to Abstract

Telescoping and gender differences in the time course of disordered gambling: evidence from a general population sample

When assessed at the general population level, female gamblers do not appear to show a telescoped disordered gambling trajectory (showing a later age at initiation of gambling but a shorter time from initiation to disorder) compared with male gamblers. Link to Abstract

The Impact of the Tobacco Retail Outlet Environment on Adult Cessation and Differences by Neighborhood Poverty

In the USA, density of tobacco outlets within 500 meters of the home residence appears to be negatively associated with smoking abstinence and pro-cessation attitudes only in poor areas. Link to Abstract

The association between family affluence and smoking among 15-year-old adolescents in 33 European countries, Israel and Canada: the role of national wealth

The difference in smoking prevalence between rich and poor people is greater in more affluent countries. Link to Abstract

Plain cigarette packs do not exert Pavlovian to instrumental transfer of control over tobacco-seeking

Plain packaging may reduce smoking rates in current smokers by reducing the extent to which the package acts as an unconscious trigger for smoking urges. Link to Abstract