Co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders are common, are harmful to people’s wellbeing and social functioning, and are associated with disproportionately high costs to healthcare systems 1-9. The prevalence of co-occurring disorders in mental health (MH) and Alcohol and other Drug (AoD) treatment settings is sufficiently high that they are described as an ‘expectation rather than an exception’ 3.
The impact of research that actively engages with communities, non-government organisations and clinical services can be fundamentally influenced by the engagement processes that researchers devise and implement. The corollary of this proposition is that establishing a pragmatic, or even evidence-based, process of change is likely to improve outcomes for communities and clients of services. So is it feasible to establish an evidence-based process for engaging communities and services in research?
Professor Maree Teesson was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2018 Honours List. Here, Maree shares her journey from rural NSW to world-leading research.
Understanding how many people inject drugs is critically important for the effective provision of public health and harm reduction services. However, the severe stigma that is often attached to injecting drug use, and illicit nature of this behaviour, means that it is often difficult to have a clear picture of how many people inject drugs in a given nation or region.
Many discussions between health economists and their clinical and policy research colleagues begin with comments such as ‘we want to know what X costs or what will it cost to fund Y? But these questions, while useful and interesting, do not fully encapsulate what health economics and economics have to offer more broadly.
There is a lot that Australian governments could learn from New Zealand. I had the pleasure of participating in the New Zealand 2017 Parliamentary Drug Policy Symposium, held on 5-6 July, 2017. The purpose of the Symposium was to bring together community leaders, politicians, experts, practitioners and people with lived experience to discuss a new healthy approach to drug policy and drug laws.
Methamphetamine (usually colloquially referred to as “ice”) is a major public health problem in Australia. When we think of methamphetamine-related death, however, we tend to focus on overdose. This is a very real and valid concern. But the extent of the problem extends far beyond drug toxicity.
An increase in opioid prescribing for chronic pain has led to increased concern regarding opioid dependence. Identification of risk factors associated with the development of dependence in primary care is crucial.
The use of image and performance enhancing drugs – in particular steroids – is a growing area of concern globally. The use of these drugs has traditionally been limited to elite athletes and professional bodybuilders. But now their use is becoming normalised as part of a fitness and beauty regime for people who want to gain muscle, become leaner, and improve their appearance.
Women are catching up to men in rates of alcohol consumption and this has important implications for how we think about our community response to harmful alcohol use.