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International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day ©  © 2019 ~ International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31 each year, and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death.

Our substance use and public health journals publish research exploring the use, treatment, and policy of addictive substances that may result in overdose. Here we highlight some recent research.

Developments in the opioid epidemic

Developments in the opioid epidemic: Q&A with Guohua Li

The opioid crisis has claimed over half a million lives in the United States since 1996. In this Q&A, Dr Guohua Li, Editor-in-Chief of Injury Epidemiology, discusses the origins of the epidemic and more recent developments.

Read the Q&A with Dr Guohua Li

Recent research

Addiction Science & Clinical Practice

Addiction Science & Clinical PracticeFactors associated with willingness to wear an electronic overdose detection device
North America is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. Although take-home naloxone and other measures have been an effective strategy to reduce overdoses, many events are unwitnessed and mortality remains high amongst those using drugs alone. While wearable devices that can detect and alert others of an overdose are being developed, willingness of people who use drugs to wear such a device has not been described.

Physicians’ satisfaction with providing buprenorphine treatment
Buprenorphine is a critically important treatment for addressing the opioid epidemic, but there are virtually no studies of physicians’ job satisfaction with providing buprenorphine.

BMC Health Services Research

BMC SeriesUser-centered design of contingency management for implementation in opioid treatment programs: a qualitative study
Contingency management is one of the only behavioral interventions shown to be effective for the treatment of opioid use disorders when delivered alone and in combination with pharmacotherapy. Despite extensive empirical support, the uptake in community settings remains abysmally low. 

BMC Public Health

BMC SeriesEmergency department encounters for opioid abuse, adverse events, poisoning, and dependence among members of a community-based health insurance plan—Central Texas, 2016–2018
The United States appears to be in the midst of an opioid epidemic. National data indicate a rise in emergency department visits for opioid-related causes over the past decade. This data, while important in helping to explain the magnitude of the epidemic nationally offers only a glimpse of what can be expected to occur locally. 

Naloxone urban legends and the opioid crisis: what is the role of public health?
This article analyzes one set of media accounts – stories of misuse of naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote distributed to people who use drugs – through the lens of social science scholarship on urban legends. We suggest that these stories have met a public need to feel a sense of safety in uncertain times, but function to reinforce societal views of people who use drugs as undeserving of support and resources.

Harm Reduction Journal

Harm Reduction JournalJustice involvement patterns, overdose experiences, and naloxone knowledge among men and women in criminal justice diversion addiction treatment
Persons in addiction treatment are likely to experience and/or witness drug overdoses following treatment and thus could benefit from overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) programs. Diverting individuals from the criminal justice system to addiction treatment represents one treatment engagement pathway, yet OEND needs among these individuals have not been fully described.

Prospective client survey and participatory process ahead of opening a mobile drug consumption room in Lisbon
Ahead of opening Portugal’s first mobile drug consumption room (MDCR) in Lisbon, information from People Who Use Drugs (PWUD) and local community members was necessary to determine current needs and shape the intervention. A participatory and peer-led process was ensured at all stages of data gathering and planning of the intervention.

Health & Justice

Confronting the opioid epidemic: public opinion toward the expansion of treatment services in Virginia
Public opinion polls have consistently shown Americans prefer treatment over arrest policies for opioid users. As the opioid epidemic remains a major health problem in the United States, it is important to determine the type of treatment policies the public would support. Theoretically, government should take into consideration the opinion of its constituents when deciding how to act. As such, the 2018 Virginia Commonwealth Public Policy Poll determined levels of support for the expansion of community-based treatment in one’s community.

Implementation Science

Implementation ScienceSustaining alcohol and opioid use disorder treatment in primary care: a mixed methods study
This study informs the implementation science field about what factors are important for the sustainability of substance use disorder treatment provision within primary care clinics.

Injury Epidemiology

Injury EpidemiologyAssociations between implementation of Project Lazarus and opioid analgesic dispensing and buprenorphine utilization in North Carolina, 2009–2014
Project Lazarus is a seven-strategy, community-coalition-based intervention designed to reduce opioid overdose and dependence. This study examined the association between PL implementation and 1) overall dispensing rate of opioid analgesics, and 2) utilization of buprenorphine.

International Journal for Equity in Health

International Journal for Equity in HealthPerceived barriers to methadone maintenance treatment among Iranian opioid users
This is the first study that qualitatively presents the obstacles to attendance and adherence to methadone maintenance treatment programs as perceived by Iranian opioid-dependent patients.

Israel Journal of Health Policy Research

Israel Journal of Health Policy ResearchHarm reduction when it’s for our own kids: comment on Hagit Bonny-Noach, “The evolution of Israeli public policy for drug-using backpackers
Hagit Bonny-Noach notes the challenging history of illicit substance use among Israeli backpackers. Few Israeli practices are more normative than the backpacking-trip as a rite of passage. Unsurprisingly, backpacking in far-off locales provides occasion to experiment with the various intoxicating experiences young adult life has to offer.

Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy

Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and PolicyDrug-induced prolonged corrected QT interval in patients with methadone and opium overdose
Iran is a country with the highest rate of opioid addiction in the world. The most commonly used opioid in Iran is opium, and methadone is in second place. The trend of drug use has changed from opium to methadone from 2006 to 2011. Presence of a large number of addicted people and methadone maintenance therapy clinics make methadone readily available in Iran. Therefore, evaluation of the epidemiological characteristic of methadone toxicity and its effects on the heart is essential.

Lessons learned from the opioid crisis across the pillars of the Canadian drugs and substances strategy
Canada is facing an urgent challenge to reduce the harms associated with opioids: from January 2016 to December of 2018, more than 11,500 individuals lost their lives due to opioid related harms. This review examines responses to the opioid crisis thus far, the lessons learned from these initiatives and the knowledge gaps that still need to be addressed across the four pillar model adopted by the CDSS.

Journal of Cannabis Research​​​​​​​Journal of Cannabis Research has published its first articles!

We are excited to announce that the Journal of Cannabis Research has fully launched as an international, multidisciplinary journal, and has published its first articles. Editor-in-Chief Dr David Gorelick gives an introduction to the journal and answers 'why do we need this new journal now'.

New cannabis research

Journal of Cannabis Research​​​​​​​High school student cannabis use and perceptions towards cannabis in southcentral Colorado – comparing communities that permit recreational dispensaries and communities that do not

With the legalization of cannabis and the opening of recreational dispensaries in states across the the US, the Editors of this brief report investigate whether or not proximity to recreational cannabis dispensaries affects high school students in terms of their use, perceptions, and harmfulness and wrongfulness of using cannabis.

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Journal of Cannabis ResearchGenetic tools weed out misconceptions of strain reliability in Cannabis sativa: implications for a budding industry

Cannabis sativa is excluded from regulation by the United States Department of Agriculture. As cannabis legalization and consumption increases, the need to provide consumers with consistent products becomes more pressing. The Editors of this original research study examined commercially available, drug-type cannabis strains.

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Journal of Cannabis ResearchMolecular neuroscience at its “high”: bibliometric analysis of the most cited papers on endocannabinoid system, cannabis and cannabinoids

As a heavily investigated research area, the Editors of this research article highlighted the 100 most cited papers from the Web of Science Core Collection.

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Journal of Cannabis Research​​​​​​​Cannabis use patterns at the dawn of US cannabis reform

Three in 10 cannabis users develop cannabis use disorder (CUD) in the US. In order to provide more understanding, this brief research report describes cannabis usage preferences particularly among young men.

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A call for papers by Harm Reduction Journal

State of the art and best-practice interventions for reducing harm among illicit stimulant users

State of the art and best-practice interventions for reducing harm among illicit stimulant users - Harm Reduction JournalMany studies and interventions aim for reductions or abstinence in stimulant use rather than other crucial domains of functioning, such as physical and mental health, social functioning, and quality of life. Therefore, we invite you to submit manuscripts for our special issue to increase research in this area.
Edited by: Caleb Banta-Green and Peter Blanken

Find out more and submit

The Involvement and Engagement of Peers in Research

The Involvement and Engagement of Peers in Research - Harm Reduction JournalWe are seeking research reports on:
• Both peer-led and collaborative research projects;
• Methodological articles explaining how peer-based research was undertaken;
• Reviews or historical articles on peer involvement in research;
• Commentaries, for example on personal experience of peer involvement in designing and conducting studies, or writing up and disseminating research findings.
Edited by: Annie Madden, Prof Jo Neale & Prof Carla Treloar

Find our more and submit

About our journals

Addiction Science & Clinical PracticeAddiction Science & Clinical Practice
A leading open access journal in the clinical addiction research field providing a platform for clinically relevant research and perspectives that contribute to improving the quality of care for people with unhealthy alcohol, tobacco, or other drug use. Welcoming submissions on an array of clinical prevention and treatment practices, including management of health consequences associated with substance use.
Explore research by Addiction Science & Clinical practice



Harm Reduction JournalHarm Reduction Journal
​​​​​​​Publishing research focusing on the prevalent patterns of psychoactive drug use, the public policies meant to control them, and the search for effective methods of reducing the adverse medical, public health, and social consequences associated with both drugs and drug policies. Defining 'harm reduction' as 'policies and programs which aim to reduce the health, social, and economic costs of legal and illegal psychoactive drug use without necessarily reducing drug consumption'.
Explore research by Harm Reduction Journal


Journal of Cannabis ResearchJournal of Cannabis Research
An international journal encompassing not only clinical and scientific research, but also research into social, economic, legal, environmental and ethical impacts of cannabis. Providing an outlet for experts across disciplines, driving public discourse and innovation around this timely issue.
Now open for submissions




Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and PolicySubstance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Encompassing a range of substance use issues, with a special focus on policy. Encouraging new ideas on reducing substance misuse and allows researchers to rapidly publish their findings. We welcome submissions on diverse topics, which include legislation, correctional supervision, medical treatment and screening, mental health services, research, and evaluation of programs.
Explore research by Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy