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Article

Nicole K. Lee, Angela M. Harney and Amy E. Pennay

The aim of this paper is to examine the temporal sequencing of methamphetamine use and the onset of mental health problems among a sample of dependent methamphetamine users.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to examine the temporal sequencing of methamphetamine use and the onset of mental health problems among a sample of dependent methamphetamine users.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used a self‐reported timeline method to examine the sequencing of first use, regular use and problematic use of methamphetamine and mental health issues among 126 users with lifetime dependence.

Findings

The majority of the sample (69 per cent) reported previous mental health diagnosis or treatment. Of this sample, 22 per cent reported mental health problems prior to their first use of methamphetamine and 72 per cent reported mental health problems after first use of methamphetamine (with the rest around the same time or unsure). On the timeline, mental health symptoms were first indicated around a year after first regular use of methamphetamine and around the same time as problematic use. Respondents identified a lag time of five years between first problematic use of methamphetamine and seeking treatment for methamphetamine‐related problems, but those that received mental health treatment engaged in methamphetamine treatment earlier.

Practical implications

Among this sample, mental health problems coincided with problematic methamphetamine use (rather than any use) suggesting prevention efforts may be better directed at preventing transition to heavy use or use of potent forms or injecting, rather than directed at prevention of uptake. On this basis, stepped care might be appropriate for methamphetamine users.

Originality/value

Despite a substantial research literature establishing the link between methamphetamine use and mental health problems, little is known about the order of onset and the implications of this for treatment. This is one of the few studies specifically investigating the temporal sequencing of methamphetamine use, mental health symptoms and treatment seeking among a sample of dependent methamphetamine users.

Details

Advances in Dual Diagnosis, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-0972

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Article

Anne-Marie Laslett, Sarah Callinan and Amy Pennay

In history, alcohol has most commonly been constructed as a problem that affects individuals, not others. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of historical…

Abstract

Purpose

In history, alcohol has most commonly been constructed as a problem that affects individuals, not others. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of historical and contemporary research on alcohol's harms to others and aims to give a rationale for the current increasing interest in this field of research.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews the recent literature published on alcohol's harm to others and contextualises this through a discussion of historical and present-day cultural positions on alcohol.

Findings

Alcohol was rarely linked to harms to others until the early Temperance movement, but this waned in the early twentieth century. Increasing prosperity post the Second World War led to the relaxation of licensing laws, which coincided with an increasing focus on individualism and consumer capitalism. New public health research identified lifestyle factors, including drinking, as problems that were controllable through health promotion and individual behaviour change. Constructing drinkers as deviant or unwell led to individualised policies. Powerful groups such as the alcohol industry and the government encourage the construction of alcohol as an individual problem, not one that affects others.

Originality/value

While only a limited amount of international research has been undertaken on alcohol's harm to others in history, very recently this issue has begun to elicit some government attention. Recent research shows that there are many harms and costs, broadly distributed, constituting well-accepted reasons why regulation and effective public health measures should be implemented to respond to alcohol's harm to others. The epidemiology of both nuisance and serious harms illustrates a spectrum of problems. The prevalence of externalities that exist and the range of people who experience them underscore the reasons that alcohol's harm to others should become a focus of government concern and action into the future.

Details

Drugs and Alcohol Today, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1745-9265

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