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Ms Morgaine Wallace-Steele's blog

Addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among people in Australia who regularly inject drugs

Photo of Olivia Price

It has been one year since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout commenced in Australia, and while vaccination rates initially lagged behind other countries, over 95% of Australians aged 12 years and older are now fully vaccinated. 

We tend to consider the remaining unvaccinated people a homogenous ‘anti-vax’ group. However, there are some less vocal, disadvantaged populations with lower rates of vaccine uptake who require targeted efforts to increase uptake. There are three key reasons why people who inject drugs should be encouraged to be vaccinated. 

How is Australia responding to the pharmaceutical opioid problem?

image - Gabrielle Campbell 280 0

In the last twenty years there have been substantial increases in the use of pharmaceutical opioids in many countries, including Australia which has one of the highest levels of opioid utilisation globally 1. Almost 15 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed in 2015 and our use of high-potency opioids has also increased 2. One of the main drivers is the increased use of prescription opioids for chronic non-caner pain (CNCP) 3. In parallel to escalating use, opioid-related harms have also increased.

CoLAB to evaluate outcomes, processes and costs of depot buprenorphine

image - CoLAB

The advent of novel extended release depot buprenorphine formulations has the potential to transform opiate substitution therapy in a variety of settings and benefit the lives of people living with opioid dependence. CoLAB is an open-label cohort study of depot buprenorphine evaluating patient outcomes and process, and cost implications in a variety of models of care. 

Collaborating with clinicians and consumers to improve the uptake of integrated care in a residential mental health rehabilitation unit: A co-design approach

image - Research Focus   Connections Dec 2018

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.

Can we improve processes for engaging communities and services in research?

image - Anthony Shakeshaft Square

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?

A global picture of injecting drug use, HIV and anti-HCV prevalence among people who inject drugs, and coverage of harm reduction interventions

image - Sarah Larney

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.