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1.
Psychol Med ; : 1-9, 2021 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1815412

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Young people may have elevated risk for poorer mental health during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, yet longitudinal studies documenting this impact are lacking. This study assessed changes in mental health and help-seeking since COVID-19 restrictions in young Australians, including gender differences. METHODS: Data were drawn from a recent subsample (n = 443; 60% female; Mage = 22.0) of a prospective cohort originally recruited in secondary school to complete annual surveys. The subsample completed an additional COVID-19 survey during COVID-19 restrictions (May-June 2020), which was compared to responses from their latest annual survey (August 2019-March 2020). Mixed effect models with time and gender as the primary predictors were conducted for: (i) scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire Depression 9-item (PHQ-9) and Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) modules assessed before and during COVID-19 restrictions, and (ii) self-reported help-seeking from a health professional in February 2020, and the month preceding May-June 2020. RESULTS: Mean symptom scores increased from before to during COVID-19 restrictions on the PHQ-9 (coefficient: 1.29; 95% CI 0.72-1.86) and GAD-7 (0.78; 95% CI 0.26-1.31), but there was no increase in help-seeking over time (odds ratio 0.50; 95% CI 0.19-1.32). There was no evidence of differential changes by gender. CONCLUSIONS: This study found increases in depression and anxiety symptoms but not greater help-seeking among young Australian adults during the first wave of the pandemic. Increasing availability and awareness of accessible treatment options and psychoeducation is critical, as well as further research into risk and protective factors to help target treatment to this vulnerable age group.

2.
Addiction ; 117(1):182-194, 2022.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-1717372

ABSTRACT

Aims: To describe (i) self-reported changes in drug use and (ii) trends in price, perceived availability, and perceived purity of illicit drugs, among people who regularly use ecstasy/ 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and other illicit stimulants in Australia following COVID-19 and associated restrictions. Design: Annual interviews with cross-sectional sentinel samples conducted face-to-face in 2016-19 and via video conferencing or telephone in 2020. Data were collected via an interviewer-administered structured questionnaire. Setting: Australian capital cities. Participants: Australians aged 16 years or older who used ecstasy/MDMA and other illicit stimulants on a monthly or more frequent basis and resided in a capital city, recruited via social media and word-of-mouth (n ~ 800 each year). Measurements: Key outcome measures were self-reported illicit drug market indicators (price, purity and availability) and, in 2020 only, perceived change in drug use (including alcohol and tobacco) since March 2020 and reasons for this change. Findings: For most drugs, participants reported either no change or a reduction in their use since COVID-19 restrictions were introduced. Ecstasy/MDMA was the drug most frequently cited as reduced in use (n = 552, 70% of those reporting recent use), mainly due to reduced opportunities for socialization. While market indicators were largely stable across most drugs, the odds of perceiving MDMA capsules as 'high' in purity decreased compared with 2016-19 [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.72, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.53-0.99], as did perceiving them as 'easy' to obtain (aOR = 0.42, CI = 0.26-0.67). The odds of perceiving cocaine and methamphetamine crystal as 'easy' to obtain also decreased (aOR = 0.67, CI = 0.46-0.96 and aOR = 0.12, CI = 0.04-0.41, respectively). Conclusions: After COVID-19-related restrictions were introduced in Australia, use of ecstasy/MDMA, related stimulants and other licit and illicit drugs mainly appeared to remain stable or decrease, primarily due to impediments to socialization. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

3.
Drug Alcohol Rev ; 2022 Feb 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702208

ABSTRACT

People who inject drugs may be at higher risk of COVID-19 transmission and more severe negative health outcomes following COVID-19 infection. Early research on hypothetical COVID-19 vaccines suggests this population may be less likely to accept vaccination. This commentary extends this research by presenting vaccine intention data from Illicit Drug Reporting System interviews conducted in June-July 2021, in the early stages of vaccine rollout, with people in Australia who inject drugs (N = 888). Half the sample (48%, n = 419) reported that they were hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, with key barriers relating to vaccine safety and side effect concerns. This level of hesitancy is substantially higher than that of the general population at a similar time. While we note that the subsequent Delta variant-driven third wave of cases in Australia and efforts to increase population vaccination coverage may have altered intent in this group, this level of hesitancy warrants a targeted strategy to mitigate vaccine-related concerns and maximise uptake. Ideally, this should comprise an inclusive health response that is peer-led, with peer-based organisations ideally positioned to direct immunisation service delivery and provide vaccine-related messaging.

4.
Drug Alcohol Rev ; 41(2): 484-487, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505873

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Vaccine acceptability is a key determinant of vaccination uptake. Despite being at risk of adverse outcomes from coronavirus-19 disease (COVID-19), COVID-19 vaccine acceptability among people who inject drugs is unknown. We surveyed people who inject drugs in Melbourne, Australia to assess potential uptake of COVID-19 vaccines prior to distribution. METHODS: Cross-sectional study, comprising interviewer-administered structured telephone interviews completed from 30 November to 22 December 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Participants were people aged 18 years or older who injected drugs at least monthly in the past 6 months and had resided in Melbourne in the past 12 months recruited via needle-syringe programs and word-of-mouth. MEASUREMENTS: COVID-19 hypothetical vaccine acceptability, participants' demographic, drug use and drug treatment characteristics. RESULTS: Fifty-eight percent (57/99) of the sample reported that they would definitely or probably be vaccinated for COVID-19, with the remainder indicating that they would not (22%) or were undecided (20%). Among those who indicated that they would definitely or probably not be vaccinated or were undecided (n = 42), safety concerns were most often cited as a reason for not wanting to be vaccinated. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Although a majority of sampled people who inject drugs indicated that they would definitely or probably be vaccinated, efforts to reduce hesitancy and allay COVID-19 vaccine safety concerns will be necessary to optimise vaccine uptake among this population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Vaccines , Adolescent , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
5.
Addiction ; 116(12): 3398-3407, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503763

ABSTRACT

AIMS: To estimate change in young people's alcohol consumption during COVID-19 restrictions in Australia in early-mid 2020, and test whether those changes were consistent by gender and level of consumption prior to the pandemic. DESIGN: Prospective longitudinal cohort. SETTING: Secondary schools in New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia. PARTICIPANTS: Subsample of a cohort (n = 443) recruited in the first year of secondary school in 2010-11. Analysis data included three waves collected in September 2017-July 2018, September 2018-May 2019 and August 2019-January 2020), and in May-June 2020. MEASUREMENTS: The primary predictors were time, gender and level of consumption prior to the pandemic. Outcome variables, analysed by mixed-effects models, included frequency and typical quantity of alcohol consumption, binge drinking, peak consumption, alcohol-related harm and drinking contexts. FINDINGS: Overall consumption (frequency × quantity) during the restrictions declined by 17% [incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.83; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.73, 0.95] compared to February 2020, and there was a 35% decline in the rate of alcohol-related harms in the same period (IRR = 0.66; 95% CI = 0.54, 0.79). Changes in alcohol consumption were largely consistent by gender. CONCLUSIONS: From a survey of secondary school students in Australia, there is evidence for a reduction in overall consumption and related harms during the COVID-19 restrictions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology , Australia/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 226: 108882, 2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1283302

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Comorbid chronic health conditions place people who inject drugs (PWID) at risk of severe health outcomes after influenza infection. However, little is known about the uptake, barriers and correlates of influenza vaccination among PWID. METHODS: During structured surveys, 872 PWID reported whether they had received an influenza vaccination during the last year (disaggregated as pre- or post-March 2020 to ascertain current season vaccine uptake), and if not, the barriers to vaccination. Logistic regression was used to examine demographic, drug use, health and service engagement correlates of vaccine uptake. RESULTS: Thirty-nine percent of participants reported past-year influenza vaccination, with one-quarter (24 %) vaccinated in the current season. The main barriers to vaccination were motivation-based, with few citing issues relating to affordability, supply or perceived stigma. Opioid agonist therapy in the past six months was significantly associated with vaccination. CONCLUSIONS: Influenza vaccine uptake was lower among PWID than the Australian general population. Provision of the vaccine at services commonly accessed by PWID may increase uptake.


Subject(s)
Influenza, Human , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Australia/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Vaccination
7.
Addiction ; 116(12): 3398-3407, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262304

ABSTRACT

AIMS: To estimate change in young people's alcohol consumption during COVID-19 restrictions in Australia in early-mid 2020, and test whether those changes were consistent by gender and level of consumption prior to the pandemic. DESIGN: Prospective longitudinal cohort. SETTING: Secondary schools in New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia. PARTICIPANTS: Subsample of a cohort (n = 443) recruited in the first year of secondary school in 2010-11. Analysis data included three waves collected in September 2017-July 2018, September 2018-May 2019 and August 2019-January 2020), and in May-June 2020. MEASUREMENTS: The primary predictors were time, gender and level of consumption prior to the pandemic. Outcome variables, analysed by mixed-effects models, included frequency and typical quantity of alcohol consumption, binge drinking, peak consumption, alcohol-related harm and drinking contexts. FINDINGS: Overall consumption (frequency × quantity) during the restrictions declined by 17% [incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.83; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.73, 0.95] compared to February 2020, and there was a 35% decline in the rate of alcohol-related harms in the same period (IRR = 0.66; 95% CI = 0.54, 0.79). Changes in alcohol consumption were largely consistent by gender. CONCLUSIONS: From a survey of secondary school students in Australia, there is evidence for a reduction in overall consumption and related harms during the COVID-19 restrictions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology , Australia/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Psychol Med ; : 1-9, 2021 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1221096

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Young people may have elevated risk for poorer mental health during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, yet longitudinal studies documenting this impact are lacking. This study assessed changes in mental health and help-seeking since COVID-19 restrictions in young Australians, including gender differences. METHODS: Data were drawn from a recent subsample (n = 443; 60% female; Mage = 22.0) of a prospective cohort originally recruited in secondary school to complete annual surveys. The subsample completed an additional COVID-19 survey during COVID-19 restrictions (May-June 2020), which was compared to responses from their latest annual survey (August 2019-March 2020). Mixed effect models with time and gender as the primary predictors were conducted for: (i) scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire Depression 9-item (PHQ-9) and Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) modules assessed before and during COVID-19 restrictions, and (ii) self-reported help-seeking from a health professional in February 2020, and the month preceding May-June 2020. RESULTS: Mean symptom scores increased from before to during COVID-19 restrictions on the PHQ-9 (coefficient: 1.29; 95% CI 0.72-1.86) and GAD-7 (0.78; 95% CI 0.26-1.31), but there was no increase in help-seeking over time (odds ratio 0.50; 95% CI 0.19-1.32). There was no evidence of differential changes by gender. CONCLUSIONS: This study found increases in depression and anxiety symptoms but not greater help-seeking among young Australian adults during the first wave of the pandemic. Increasing availability and awareness of accessible treatment options and psychoeducation is critical, as well as further research into risk and protective factors to help target treatment to this vulnerable age group.

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