Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Opiate-dependent adolescents in Ireland: a descriptive study at treatment entry

  • John Fagan (a1), Leena Naughton (a2) and Bobby Smyth (a2)

Abstract

Objectives: To describe the drug history and co-existing psycho-social problems among under-19 year olds accessing treatment for opiate dependency, including methadone maintenance, and examine for any gender differences.

Method: A descriptive study of under-19 years assessed at the largest drug treatment clinic in Dublin, Ireland, between October 2000 and September 2006. Data was obtained through review of case notes, assessment questionnaires and urine drug screens.

Results: Eighty-six young people were included. Their mean age was 16.8 years. Forty-six (54%) were female. Only 26 (30%) reported an intact family of origin. Twenty-three (27%) had been in care. Mean age for first use of any illicit drug was 12.4 years, and for heroin was 14.8 years. The mean age of leaving school was 14.4 years; 42 (49%) first tried heroin after leaving school. Forty-one (48%) had a history of homelessness. Forty-four (51%) had previously injected; 26 (30%) were currently injecting. Fifty-six (65%) had not been screened for blood-borne diseases; twenty-one (24%) subsequently tested positive for hepatitis C. Thirty-eight (48%) had previous convictions; 33 (38%) were facing charges. Forty-five (52%) had previously seen a psychiatrist; nine (11%) had received inpatient psychiatric treatment. Boys were more likely to leave school early, have a substance-abusing sibling, and to have a past conviction. Girls were more likely to have a partner, and have taken a deliberate overdose.

Conclusions: This study highlights the multiple and complex needs of teenagers abusing opiates. Services seeking to meet their needs will require a broad range of interventions and excellent interagency co-operation.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Correspondence Email: johnc.fagan@mailm.hse.ie

References

Hide All
1.Hopfer, CJ, Khuri, E, Crowley, TJ, Hooks, S. Adolescent heroin use: A review of descriptive and treatment literature. J Substance Abuse Treat 2002; 23: 231–37.
2.Rowan, AB, Fudala, PJ, Mulligan, J. The medical management of adolescent heroin dependence. Curr Psychiatry Rep 2000; 2(6): 527–30.
3.Chrome, I, Chistian, J, Green, C. The development of a unique designed community drug service for adolescents. Drugs – Education, Prevention, and Policy 2000; 7: 87108.
4.Bukstein, OG. Influences on the risk and course of substance use and abuse in adolescents. Curr Op Psychiatry 1985; 8: 218221.
5.Spooner, C, Mattick, RP, Noffs, W. A study of the patterns and correlates of substance use among adolescents applying for drug treatment. Aust NZ J Public Health 2000 Oct; 24(5): 492502.
6.European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). 2002 Annual report on the state of the drugs problem in the European Union and Norway. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2002.
7.Kelly, A, Carvallo, M, Teljeur, C. Prevalence of opiate use in Ireland 2000-2001. A 3-source Capture Recapture study, NACD, Dublin, 2003,.
8.Gervin, M, Hughes, R, Banford, L, Smyth, BP, Keenan, E. Heroin smoking by “chasing the dragon” in young opiate users in Ireland: stability and associations with use to “come down” off “Ecstasy”. J Subst Abuse Treat 2001; 20(4): 297300.
9.Smyth, BP, O'Brien, M. Children Attending Addiction Treatment Services in Dublin 1990-1999. Eur Addict Res 2004; 10: 6874.
10.Mullen, L, Barry, J. An Analysis of 15-19-year-old first attendere at the Dublin Needle Exchange, 1990-97. Addiction 2001; 96: 251–58.
11.Burniston, S, Dodd, M, Elliot, L, Orr, L, Watson, L. Drug Treatment Services for Young People. Scottish Executive Office: Edinburgh, 2002
12.American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Practice parameters for assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with substance use disorders. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1997 (suppl); 36:140S–56S.
13.Marsch, L. The Efficacy of methadone maintenance intervention in reducing illicit opiate use, HIV risk behaviour and criminality: a meta-analysis. Addiction 1998; 93: 515–32.
14.Gossop, M, Marsden, J, Duncan, S, Tara, K. The National Treatment Outcome Research Study (NTORS): 4-5 year follow-up results. Addiction 2003; 98(3): 291303.
15.Godfrey, C, Stewart, D, Gossop, M. Economic analysis of costs and consequences of the treatment of drug misuse: two-year outcome data from the National Treatment Outcome Research Study (NTORS). Addiction 2004; 99: 696707.
16.Van Beusekom, Iguchi. A review of recent advances in knowledge about methadone maintenance treatment. RAND, Geneva, 2001.
17.Farrell, Met al.Methadone maintenance treatment in opiate dependence: a review. BMJ; 1994; 309: 9971001.
18.Robins, LN, Przybeck, TR. Age of onset of drug use as a factor in drug and other disorders. NIDA Res Monogr 1985; 56: 178–92.
19.Health Advisory Service. Report. Children and Young People Substance Misuse Services – The Substance of Young Needs. HMSO: London, 1996.
20.Carrick, PA. Key components of drug treatment provision for young people: a Delphi approach. J Subs Use 2004; 9(1): 20–3
21.Ieland's National Drug Strategy, 2001-2008. Dublin: Government Stationary Office, 2001.
22.Copello, AG, Templeton, L, Velleman, R. Family interventions for drug and alcohol misuse: is there a best practice? Curr Opin Psych 2006; 19: 271–76.
23.Stanton, MD, Shadish, WR. Outcome, attrition, and family-couples treatment for drug abuse: a meta-analysis and review of the controlled, comparative studies. Psychol Bull 1997; 122: 170–91.
24.Long, J, Lynn, E, Felly, F. Trends in treated problem drug use in Ireland, 1998 to 2002. Occasional Paper 17. Dublin: Health Research Board, 2005.
25.Grube, JW, Morgan, M. Smoking, drinking and other drug use among Dublin postprimary school pupils. Dublin: ESRI General Publications, 1986.
26.Lynskey, M, Hall, W. The effects of adolescent cannabis use on educational attainment: A review. Addiction 2000; 95: 1621–30.
27.Lloyd, C. Risk factors for problem drug use: Identifying vulnerable groups. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy 1998; 5(3):217232.
28.Mayock, P. Choosers or Losers: Influences on Young peoples choices about Drugs in Inner-city Dublin. The Children's Research Centre, University of Dublin Trinity College, 2000. ISBN 1-902230-07-8.
29.Lawless, M, Corr, C. Drug Use among the Homeless Population in Ireland. National Advisory Committee on Drugs; Dublin Stationary Office, 2005: 5455.
30.Jessor, R, Jessor, SL. Problem behavior and psychosocial development: A Longitudinal study of youth. New York: Academic press, 1977: 281.
31.Prochaska, JO, DiClemente, CC. The Transtheoretical Approach: Crossing the traditional boundaries of therapy. Malabar, FL: Kriegar, 1984.
32.Carr, A. In: Family Therapy – Concepts, Process and Practice. 2nd Ed. Chichester: The Wiley series in clinical psychology; 2006: 386.

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed