People identifying as LGBTIQ and alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, last updated

Key Findings:

  • People identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual have relatively high rates of substance use. However, there is a lack of comprehensive data available on the associated harms for this population group.
  • Almost one in 5 (18.7%) people identifying as homosexual or bisexual reported daily tobacco smoking in 2016, comapred with 12% of heterosexual people.
  • Over a quarter (25.8%) of people identifying as homosexual or bisexual reported drinking at levels exceeding lifetime risk guidelines in 2016, compared with 17.2% of heterosexual people.
  • In 2016, 42% of people identifying as homosexual or bisexual reported drinking at levels exceeding single occasion risk guidelines, compared with 26% of heterosexual people.
  • In 2016, 41.7% of people identifying as homosexual or bisexual recently used any illicit drug, compared with 14.5% of heterosexual people.

More information is available in the People identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ) fact sheet (PDF)

Australian Burden of Disease Study: Illicit Drug Use, Intimate Partner Violence, Unsafe Sex

 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Last updated: 

Burden of disease is a measure of the years of healthy life lost from living with, or dying from disease and injury. A portion of this burden is preventable, being due to modifiable risk factors. This report provides information on the deaths and burden of disease due to risk factors included in the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2015. 

New analyses of the key drivers of change over time in the burden of disease due to selected risk factors have recently been added to these data visualisations (August 2020).

The following excerpts may be of interest:

Or you can see all the data here

 

 

Accessing pharmacotherapy (opioid replacement therapy) during COVID-19

Alcohol and Drug Foundation (Australia), April 27th 2020

There are now new challenges for people who access opioid replacement therapy (ORT) due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Many may be experiencing anxiety and fear due to COVID-19 and trying to reduce and mitigate these feelings is vital.

In most cases, people who are on ORT are required to visit their health clinic or pharmacy on a daily basis. This can be more difficult for people right now, due to restrictions on movement and the social distancing regulations imposed to curtail COVID-19.

 

COVID-19 and Harm Reduction Programme Implementation: Sharing Experiences in Practice (Webinar)

Médecins du Monde Harm Reduction, April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound effect on the provision of health services across the globe and is further magnifying the existing barriers faced by people who use drugs in accessing harm reduction services. Programmes have had to adapt, and efforts are being made to enhance accessibility and ensure the continuity of harm reduction services in a context that is changing daily.

But what does this look like in reality, and what practical measures can be put in place to ensure that people who use drugs continue to have access to the services and support that they need?

The aim of this webinar is to facilitate an interactive discussion and share experiences on how to maintain and adapt harm reduction services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers will discuss:

• The impact of COVID-19 on the lives of people who use drugs and their use of services

• Community mobilisation and advocacy by people who use drugs

• Examples of how harm reduction programmes such as OST and NSP are continued in some countries

Organisers: Médecins du Monde, International Network of People Who Use Drugs, Harm Reduction International, European Network of People Who Use Drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Health Organization.

Striving towards the elimination of HCV infection among PWID

International Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 72,Pages 1-198 (October 2019)

Nearly 200 pages of open access articles from projects and research around the world.

While this special issue highlights some successful efforts towards HCV elimination among people who inject drugs, it also highlights the relative lack of attention to settings in which resources enabling elimination are scarce, and where elimination hopes and potentials are less clear, such as in many low and middle income countries. Strengthening capacity in areas of the world where resources are more limited will be a critical step towards ensuring equity for all so that global HCV elimination among PWID can be achieved.

  • Browse articles here
  • You can also download the full issue as PDF by creating an account and signing in at the above link

Smoking and HIV: what are the risks and what harm reduction strategies do we have at our disposal?

AIDS Res Ther. 2018 Dec 12;15(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s12981-018-0213-z.

Abstract

The World Health Organization estimates that smoking poses one of the greatest global health risks in the general population. Rates of current smoking among people living with HIV (PLHIV) are 2-3 times that of the general population, which contributes to the higher incidence of non-AIDS-related morbidity and mortality in PLHIV.

Given the benefit of smoking cessation, strategies to assist individuals who smoke to quit should be a primary focus in modern HIV care.

Tobacco harm reduction focuses on reducing health risk without necessarily requiring abstinence. However, there remains uncertainty about the safety, policy and familiarity of specific approaches, particularly the use of vaporised nicotine products. Evidence suggests that vaporised nicotine products may help smokers stop smoking and are not associated with any serious side-effects. However, there is the need for further safety and efficacy data surrounding interventions to assist quitting in the general population, as well as in PLHIV specifically.

In addition, official support for vaping as a harm reduction strategy varies by jurisdiction and this determines whether medical practitioners can prescribe vaporised products and whether patients can access vaporised nicotine products. When caring for PLHIV who smoke, healthcare workers should follow general guidelines to assist with smoking cessation.

These include: asking the patient about their smoking status; assessing the patient’s readiness to quit and their nicotine dependence; advising the patient to stop smoking; assisting the patient in their attempt to stop smoking through referral, counselling, pharmacotherapy, self-help resources and/or health education; and arranging follow-up with the patient to evaluate their progress.