It found that problem drug-users who were younger, homeless or not currently injecting are significantly more likely to exit early, possibly because drug services are off-putting and not suited to their needs.
Since 1998, the UK has seen a big expansion in its drug programmes that has led to a 113% increase in the numbers of people being assessed for structured treatment. However, problem drug-users may not benefit from these programmes if they do not stay the course.
Researchers from the University of Kent and Kings College London analysed data from 2,624 service users from three English drug action team areas (two metropolitan and one provincial) who had been assessed and recommended for treatment programmes.
Whilst a quarter of problem drug-users exited early before completing 30 days, two thirds of these actually failed to even begin the recommended course of treatment –i.e. these programs fail to engage them at the outset. The ages of people leaving before starting treatment or before 30 days was significantly lower than those who remained on the programme.
How much drug users stuck at their treatment varied between agencies; they were more than two times more likely to exit early in agencies that have a longer waiting time between the assessment of the drug user and the start of their treatment. This finding suggests that exiting treatment early is not just due to inherent, individual factors but may relate to program differences.
Interviews with problem drug-users and agency staff backed up these findings. “Whilst it is easy to blame the early exit out rate of problem drug-users on the 'chaos' in their lives of drug and their lack of motivation our data and interviews suggest that there is much that services can do to enhance the rate of retention in the first few days and weeks,” notes Dr Alex Stevens, who led the study.
For example, problem drug-users who do not belong to the traditional client group of injecting heroin users in their late 20s and 30s (eg – those who use stimulants) may find traditional drug services, provided from central locations in often run-down buildings, off-putting.
The limited opening hours of services may exclude many potential clients, especially those who work, from being able to attend treatment. Techniques for enhancing early retention, such as proactive, personalised contacting for appointments and motivational interviewing during treatment sessions are available but not yet widespread.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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