The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

Current Issue

July 2022, Volume 41, Issue 5

The July 2022 issue features an original paper on opioid agonist treatment and patient outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic in south east Sydney, with a commentary by Steele and Acheson and a response from the original authors. Another commentary provides an update from the 2021 Illicit Drug Reporting System interviews on COVID-19 vaccine acceptability among people in Australia who inject drugs.

There is also a commentary on drug checking services increase the intention to use drugs in some (small) subgroups of music festival attendees, with a response.

Australian research in this issue focussed on changes in and correlates of public attitudes toward illicit drug use; trends in methamphetamine use, markets and harms; validation of diagnostic codes to monitor hospital admission trends for injection-related infections at a tertiary care hospital in Melbourne; characteristics of fatal tapentadol-related toxicity; evaluation of health worker training, attitudes and perceptions on the Overdose Response with Take Home Naloxone project; prevalence and correlates of cannabis use disorder among Australians using cannabis products to treat a medical condition; exploring cannabis-related content on TikTok; an international survey of ‘binaural beat’ consumers; a qualitative study of New South Wales metropolitan general practitioners on what general practitioners want from specialist alcohol and other drug services; and young people with prior health service contacts have increased risk of repeated alcohol-related harm hospitalisations.


Virtual Issues

Cannabis legalisation and its impact on access, use and public perceptions

Music Festival Context as a Site for Alcohol/Drug UseMusic Festival Context as a Site for Alcohol/Drug Use






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What's new on Early View?

The latest COVID-19 research is available online.


Comprehensive Reviews

Systematic review of guidelines for managing physical health during treatment for substance use disorders: Implications for the alcohol and other drug workforce
Briony Osborne, Briony Larance, Rowena Ivers, Frank P. Deane, Laura D. Robinson, Peter J. Kelly
28 June 2022 | DOI:

Motives for the use of serotonergic psychedelics: A systematic review
Lukas A. Basedow, Sören Kuitunen-Paul
6 June 2022 | DOI:

Community-based models of alcohol and other drug support for First Nations peoples in Australia: A systematic review
Jacynta Krakouer, Melissa Savaglio, Karinda Taylor, Helen Skouteris
11 May 2022 | DOI:


Original Papers

The alcohol self-presentation model: Using thematic qualitative analysis to elucidate how college students self-present via alcohol-related social media posts
Mai-Ly N. Steers, Lene C. Mannheim, Rose Marie Ward, Angela B. Tangyin
28 June 2022 | DOI:

Association between perceived addiction and cessation behaviours among users of smokeless or combustible tobacco in India
Vaibhav P. Thawal, Flora Tzelepis, Sima Ahmadi, Christine Paul
28 June 2022 | DOI:

Heavy drinking and problem drinking among youth in Uganda: A structural equation model of alcohol marketing, advertisement perceptions and social norms
Monica H. Swahn, Rachel Culbreth, Ari Fodeman, Cherell Cottrell-Daniels, Nazarius Mbona Tumwesigye, David H. Jernigan, Rogers Kasirye, Isidore Obot
27 June 2022 | DOI:

The perceived social rejection of sexual minorities: Substance use and unprotected sexual intercourse
Nick Drydakis
23 June 2022 | DOI:

Illicit drug use and male barroom aggression among members of the Australian construction industry: Associations with personality and masculinity factors
Steven Litherland, Peter G. Miller, Shannon Hyder
14 June 2022 | DOI:

To drink or not to drink: A study of the association between rates of non-drinkers and per drinker mean alcohol consumption in the Swedish general population
Jonas Raninen, Michael Livingston, Jonas Landberg, Mats Ramstedt
7 June 2022 | DOI:

COVID-19 vaccination coverage and vaccine hesitancy among people with opioid use disorder in Barcelona, Spain
Gabriel Vallecillo, Xavier Durán, Irene Canosa, Albert Roquer, Maria C. Martinez, Rafael Perelló
6 June 2022 | DOI:

‘Even though you hate everything that's going on, you know they are safer at home’: The role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in methamphetamine use harm reduction and their own support needs
Sandra Gendera, Carla Treloar, Rachel Reilly, Katherine M. Conigrave, Julia Butt, Yvette Roe, James Ward
31 May 2022 | DOI:

Alcohol-related liver disease mortality and missed opportunities in secondary care: A United Kingdom retrospective observational study
Mohsan Subhani, Rebecca Elleray, Jane Bethea, Joanne R. Morling, Stephen D. Ryder
31 May 2022 | DOI:


A comment on participant reimbursement within Australian drug and alcohol research
Daniel T. Winter, Brennan Geiger, Carolyn A. Day
28 February 2022 | DOI:

The feasibility of a drug consumption room in the Australian Capital Territory
Amy Kirwan, Rebecca Winter, Jack Gunn, Filip Djordjevic, Michael Curtis, Chris Gough, Paul M. Dietze
17 January 2022 | DOI:

Drink driving among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: What has been done and where to next?
Michelle S. Fitts, Richard Burchill, Scott Wilson, Gavan R. Palk, Alan R. Clough, Katherine M. Conigrave, Tim Slade, Anthony Shakeshaft, K. S. Kylie Lee
19 December 2021 | DOI:


Case Series

Case series on treatment of dependence to Kamini Vidrawan Ras with opioid substitution therapy
Thileepan Naren, David Silkoff, Marcus Forsythe, Jon Cook
16 June 2022 | DOI:


Brief Reports

Do different actors submit different evidence to alcohol advertising policy consultations?
Julia Stafford, Simone Pettigrew, Tanya Chikritzhs
16 June 2022 | DOI:

Kamini, a little recognised source of illicit opioid: A case series of 12 patients
Tabibul Khan, Pem Ariyawansa, Janette Quinn, Jeremy Hayllar
12 May 2022 | DOI:


Letter to the Editor

Management of alcohol and other drug issues in Special Health Accommodation during the COVID-19 Delta variant outbreak in Sydney, 2021
Emily Nash, Emily Walker, Joshua Watt, Alena Sannikova, Andrew Dawson, Teresa Anderson, Merryn Sheather, Joseph Jewitt, Peter Linnegar, Owen Hutchings, Paul S. Haber
21 June 2022 | DOI:


Special Section - Qualitative insights on AOD consumption in Australia during COVID-19 

Health service utilisation and access for people who inject drugs during COVID-19
Henrietta Efunnuga, Peter Higgs, Shelley Walker, Daniel O'Keefe
9 March 2022 | DOI:

‘Super googs on a Zoom, are you kidding me?’: The pleasures and constraints of digitally-mediated alcohol and other drug consumption
Tristan Duncan, Robyn Dwyer, Michael Savic, Amy Pennay, Sarah MacLean
7 December 2021 | DOI:

‘They're like little police’: Australian parents' perceptions of their children's awareness of drinking during COVID-19
Megan Cook, Sandra Kuntsche, Amy Pennay
9 November 2021 | DOI:

‘When I open it, I have to drink it all’: Push and pull factors shaping domestic alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic UK Spring 2020 lockdown
Dominic Conroy, Emily Nicholls
27 October 2021 | DOI:

Beyond ‘drinking occasions’: Examining complex changes in drinking practices during COVID-19
Gabriel Caluzzi, Amy Pennay, Anne-Marie Laslett, Sarah Callinan, Robin Room, Robyn Dwyer
3 October 2021 | DOI:


Call for Papers

Call for Papers – How substance use is portrayed in digital media and what impacts can it have
This Special Section aims to bring together contributions that look at how substance use is portrayed in digital media on diverse platforms, what impact it has, what new innovative methods are available to measure exposure and its impact, and whether these platforms can be used to reduce substance use.
Read more here
Call for Papers Vale Jude Byrne
A special section of Drug and Alcohol Review with articles on peer researchers; hepatitis C virus and injecting drug use; ageing and drug use; women who use drugs; parents who use drugs; and international advocacy and human rights
Read more here

Drug and Alcohol Review - Clinician's Corner

DAR Front Cover

COVID-19 vaccine acceptability among people in Australia who inject drugs: Update from the 2021 Illicit Drug Reporting System interviews




There are multiple reasons why people who inject drugs should be considered a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination1. Firstly, a high prevalence of chronic health conditions and structural barriers to healthcare mean this population may be more vulnerable to adverse health outcomes from COVID-19 infection. Secondly, it is possible that people who inject drugs are at higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. The social nature of drug use and acquisition may impede adherence to physical distancing protocols. Moreover, public housing and unstable housing are accommodation settings common to this group that have been associated with a higher SARS-CoV-2 attack rate. Finally, data collected prior to vaccine rollout suggested people who inject drugs may be less likely than the general public to accept COVID-19 vaccination2.

In our recent commentary, we aimed to establish intention to vaccinate against COVID-19 and barriers to vaccination among people who inject drugs. We used data collected in June-July 2021 during interviews with 888 people who regularly inject drugs as part of the Illicit Drug Reporting System. During the survey period, the vaccine was only available to specific target groups, including people with a chronic health condition and people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

We found that COVID-19 vaccine acceptability was lower among our sample (52%) than the Australian public (range 68-78% during the survey period3). Among participants who reported that they were unsure (13%) or would ‘probably not’ (13%) or ‘definitely not’ (22%) receive the vaccine, the most frequently cited barriers related to vaccine safety (41%) and side effect (35%) concerns. These mirrored concerns among the general public at the time4. The next most common cited barriers related to low perceived risk of COVID-19 acquisition (17%) and severity (11%).

It was evident from these data that a targeted intervention to maximise COVID-19 vaccine uptake among people who inject drugs was warranted. We contended that peer-led organisations are best placed to improve vaccine trust and lead immunisation service delivery as a credible, trusted source of information within the community. We also suggested that vaccine uptake could be improved through delivery at common touchpoints with the community, including needle-syringe programs and drug health services. It may also be beneficial for primary health providers to ascertain COVID-19 vaccination status of clients who inject drugs and recommend and/or provide vaccination where necessary. Given the high level of vaccine safety-related concerns, vaccine provision should be accompanied by information on the safety and utility of the vaccine.

Today, the pandemic looks very different to mid-2021 when these data were collected. Despite a decrease in media coverage, COVID-19 is still causing significant morbidity and mortality in Australia. However, the third ‘booster’ dose uptake rate has plateaued at 65% among those aged 16 years or older5. As pandemic apathy increases, it is essential we monitor and seek to improve COVID-19 vaccine uptake among people who inject drugs, who may be more susceptible to severe infection and less likely to be reached by traditional health messaging. A comprehensive approach that extends to provision of free N95 masks and rapid antigen tests would best protect the health of this key population.

Olivia Price

National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia



  1. Iversen J, Peacock A, Price O, Byrne J, Dunlop A, Maher L. COVID‐19 vaccination among people who inject drugs: Leaving no one behind. Drug Alcohol Review 2021;40:517-20.
  2. Dietze PM, Hall C, Price O, Stewart AC, Crawford S, Peacock A, Maher L. COVID‐19 vaccine acceptability among people in Australia who inject drugs: Implications for vaccine rollout. Drug Alcohol Rev 2022;41:484-7.
  3. Vaccine Hesitancy Report Card [Internet]. Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research 2021.
  4. Edwards B, Biddle N, Gray M, Sollis K. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and resistance: Correlates in a nationally representative longitudinal survey of the Australian population. PloS One 2021;16:e0248892.
  5. Australian Government Department of Health. COVID-19 vaccination – vaccination data – 28 May 2022. Available at:


Available Open Access

Price O, Dietze PM, Maher L, Crawford S, Peacock A. COVID‐19 vaccine acceptability among people in Australia who inject drugs: Update from the 2021 Illicit Drug Reporting System interviews. Drug Alcohol Rev 2022 [Epub ahead of print]