The health benefits of reductions in individuals use of illegal drugs

McIntosh, J., Bloor, M. and Robertson, M. (2008) The health benefits of reductions in individuals use of illegal drugs. Journal of Substance Use, 13(4), pp. 247-254. (doi: 10.1080/14659890701802836)

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<p><i>Aim</i>: To explore the nature and extent of improvements in individuals' health status following reductions in their use of illegal drugs.</p> <p><i>Methods</i>: The analysis is based on data collected in the course of the Drug Outcome Research in Scotland (DORIS) study of 1007 individuals seeking treatment for a drug problem in, 2001/2. Following their initial interview at recruitment, respondents were followed up at 8, 16 and 33 months. The analysis includes those 566 DORIS participants who had attended all four interviews and who had used heroin in the 90 days prior to their initial interview. Three variables were used to measure individuals' involvement with illegal drugs: their score on the Severity of Dependence Scale; whether or not they had used heroin in the last 90 days; and whether they were currently drug free. Health status was measured using the Short Form 36 Health Status Questionnaire (SF‐36). Respondents' service use was measured in terms of their mean monthly attendance at GP surgeries and accident and emergency departments.</p> <p><i>Results</i>: Decreases in individuals' use of illegal drugs, or their dependence on them, were associated with significant improvements in reported physical and psychological health and in reductions in attendance at A&E departments.</p> <p><i>Conclusions:</i> In addition to producing significant health benefits for individuals, a reduction in the use of illegal drugs is also likely to lead to a decrease in demand for assistance from health and related services.</p>

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robertson, Mrs Michele and McIntosh, Dr James and Bloor, Prof Michael
Authors: McIntosh, J., Bloor, M., and Robertson, M.
Subjects:R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Robertson Centre
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Journal Name:Journal of Substance Use
Publisher:Informa Healthcare
ISSN (Online):1475-9942
Published Online:01 January 2008

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