More benzodiazepines, more deaths

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Addiction & Recovery News highlights benzodiazepine related problems from two recent pieces of research. The first is about benzodiazepines and early death. The British Medical Journal reports on a UK General Practice study: We found evidence of an association between prescription of anxiolytic and hypnotic drugs and mortality over an average follow-up period of 7.6 […]

Legal Highs in Scotland: cause for concern

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Scotland is seeing a change in the pattern of drug use. Actually that’s putting it mildly – Scotland is seeing a potentially profound change in the pattern of drug use. New heroin use seems to be declining and the new kid on the block, Novel Psychoactive Substances (known as ‘legal-highs’) is carving out turf. I […]

Do opioids work for chronic pain? Sorry, we haven’t a clue

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Jason Schwartz highlights a Keith Humphreys post on the challenges of assessing opioids for long term non-cancer pain. With millions of people in the UK prescribed regular opiates on repeat prescriptions for chronic pain and these drugs fraught with dependence dangers, you’d think there would have to be a solid evidence base that they work. Not a bit […]

Not 12-step or SMART; 12-step AND SMART

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What value could there possibly be in getting people with social and brain impairment together to help each other without any sort of professional involvement? John F Kelly and Bill White suggest this could be interpreted as ‘the blind leading the blind.’As it turns out, there’s quite a bit of merit in mutual aid with […]

Sex & drugs in gay men (chemsex): what’s going on?

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Several pieces of research suggest that lesbian, gay and bisexual people have a higher risk of substance misuse problems and dependence. A few weeks ago we saw the publication of a piece of research looking at the context, harms and implications of the practice of ‘chemsex’ by examining a survey of over a thousand gay and bisexual men […]

Doctors with addictions: double standards?

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Doctors get addicted to alcohol and other drugs; there’s plenty of evidence of that. My question is: Do doctors with addictions get the same kind of treatment and outcomes as their patients?  The British Medical Association estimates that there are 10,000 to 13,000 addicted doctors in the UK. Most of them will be in practice. What […]

The wise do recover from addiction

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Wisdom’s not a very scientific term is it? We sort of know what it means, but it’s vague and not really something to value or measure in scientific literature – right? It’s a bit like spirituality; you might get a dozen different definitions depending on whom you talk to. That hasn’t stopped researchers exploring what […]

Pain management in drug addiction & recovery

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“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” So starts a paper on managing chronic pain in patients with opioid dependence. It’s a dilemma, or is it really? It’s actually less of a dilemma because the evidence for opioids in chronic pain is pretty ropey in everybody, never mind in addicted populations. When you balance potential benefits up against the risks […]

The disease of addiction. Disabling?

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I spotted a tweet earlier today vigorously opposing the notion of addiction as a disease. A week or two back, someone I follow on Twitter was advocating for the terms “addict” and “alcoholic” to be abandoned because they are stigmatising. I thought of the tens of thousands of recovering people meeting weekly in Britain’s six […]

Improve outcomes: add in 12-step mutual aid

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Much treatment for drug problems is outpatient. Trying to achieve abstinence is tough and some evidence suggests it is more likely to be the goal of clients than the aspiration of professionals for their clients. How well do clients do? This study by Gerald Cochrane and colleagues from New York looked at those clients maintaining abstinence in […]