The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

What's new on Early View?

Original Papers
Social inequality in youth violence: The role of heavy episodic drinking
Thor Norström, Ingeborg Rossow and Hilde Pape
27 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12582

Pill testing or drug checking in Australia: Acceptability of service design features
Monica J. Barratt, Raimondo Bruno, Nadine Ezard and Alison Ritter
20 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12576

What factors are associated with abstinence amongst socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers? A cross-sectional survey of use of cessation aids and quitting approach
Laura Twyman, Billie Bonevski, Christine Paul, Jamie Bryant, Robert West, Mohammad Siahpush, Catherine D'este, Christopher Oldmeadow and Kerrin Palazzi
14 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12561

Characteristics and response to treatment among Indigenous people receiving injectable diacetylmorphine or hydromorphone in a randomised controlled trial for the treatment of long-term opioid dependence
Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes, Heather Palis, Daphne Guh, Kirsten Marchand, Suzanne Brissette, Kurt Lock, Scott MacDonald, Scott Harrison, Aslam H. Anis, Michael Krausz, David C. Marsh and Martin T. Schechter
8 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12573

Comprehensive Review
International patent applications for non-injectable naloxone for opioid overdose reversal: Exploratory search and retrieve analysis of the PatentScope database
Rebecca McDonald, Øyvind Danielsson Glende, Ola Dale and John Strang
8 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12571

Brief Reports
Australian lobbyist registers are not serving the purposes they were designed for
Narelle Robertson, Kypros Kypri, Julia Stafford, Mike Daube, Michelle Avery and Peter Miller
11 JUL 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12583

Attitudes in Australia on the upscheduling of over-the-counter codeine to a prescription-only medication
Jacqui McCoy, Raimondo Bruno and Suzanne Nielsen
8 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12568

Special Issue
Different drinking motives, different adverse consequences? Evidence among adolescents from 10 European countries
Matthias Wicki, Emmanuel Kuntsche, Yvonne Eichenberger, Katrin Aasvee, Pernille Bendtsen, Zuzana Dankulincová Veselská, Zsolt Demetrovics, Anna Dzielska, Judit Farkas, Margarida Gaspar de Matos, Chris Roberts, Jorma Tynjälä, Raili Välimaa and Alessio Vieno
5 JUN 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12572


Clinician's Corner - June 2017

DAR Front Cover

Clinician's Corner| June 2017         EARLY VIEW

Globally, only 12% of the world’s population do not have access to a mobile phone, with rates of mobile phone ownership significantly higher amongst those with higher incomes, higher education levels and of younger ages.  Significantly, however, rates of mobile phone ownership are increasing among disadvantaged groups in our society, indicative of a closing of the ‘digital’ divide across socio-demographic groups.

The last decade has seen a proliferation of mobile phone-based interventions for health and wellbeing, with thousands of mental health apps and other programs currently available.  This means that, for the first time, the majority of people have access to a wide range of health and wellbeing support applications right in their pockets, accessible any time of the day or night.  It is remarkable to note, though, that the majority of these programs have not been developed by health professionals, and even fewer have been evaluated.  

In this context Crombie et al.'s report† on a feasibility study of a mobile phone-based intervention in disadvantaged men with alcohol use problems, available on Early View in Drug and Alcohol Review, is significant. ‘Disadvantaged men’, drawn from the most socioeconomically disadvantaged groups within general practices, unemployment centres, sports centres, bars and other community venues in Scotland, UK, are significantly more likely than their counterparts to develop alcohol use disorders and associated diseases. Prior to the Crombie et al. study, no previous evidence existed regarding the impact of brief alcohol-focused interventions among disadvantaged groups specifically, despite a large evidence base for their effectiveness in other groups.  Following recruitment, participants were randomised to the mobile phone intervention or control. The mobile phone intervention comprised of 36 interactive text messages and images designed to increase motivation to reduce alcohol consumption via changing attitudes to alcohol use, modifying perceptions of social norms for drinking, and perceived behavioural control over alcohol use. The control group received 34 messages over the same time period on general health promotion topics, excluding alcohol use.  The Early View article contains an Appendix of example messages send to intervention and control groups.

The recruitment target for this study was exceeded, indicating the potential appeal of the study and the intervention itself.  Of the 67 male participants, aged 25-44 years, 96% were retained through to the study completion at 3 months’ post-baseline.  Although the key aims of this feasibility study were to test the procedures, intervention and assessment acceptability, and other study facets ready for a larger randomised trial, inspection of the alcohol data provided by participants indicated both groups reduced episodic heavy drinking episodes over time, with slightly more benefits for men in the intervention group. The majority of men in the intervention group appeared to find the program worthwhile, and the level of engagement (measured in the form of replying to messages when requested) was also high (88% response rate).

This study adds to the growing evidence that mobile phones are an important, useful, and acceptable tool for people interested in addressing alcohol use problems. Clinicians are encouraged to source evidence-based mobile phone interventions to supplement their usual care, and potentially extend the reach of their clinical interventions, among people with alcohol use disorders.

This article is available free online through Open Access.


†Crombie IK, Irvine L, Falconer DW, Williams B, Ricketts IW, Jones C, Humphris G, Norrie J, Slane P, Rice P. Alcohol and disadvantaged men: A feasibility trial of an intervention delivered by mobile phone. Drug Alcohol Rev 2017. Available on Early View.

Frances Kay-Lambkin
Deputy Editor, Drug and Alcohol Review