Addiction Audio


Cannabis use and the brain with Janna Cousijn

Ep. 22

Suzi Gage talks to Janna Cousijn about her paper on the long term consequences of cannabis use for the brain, written for the series Clinical issues: substance use disorders and the body

Kroon E, Kuhns L, Hoch E, Cousijn J. Heavy cannabis use, dependence and the brain: a clinical perspective. Addiction 2020; 115: 559-572

You can access all articles published in the Clinical issues series so far in the virtual issue

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Racial equity, research and the SRNT taskforce with Mignonne Guy and Megan Piper

Season 1, Ep. 46
In this episode of Addiction Audio, Drs Mignonne Guy and Megan Piper talk about their work on the racial equity taskforce for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT). It was a powerful and wide-ranging discussion about developing anti-racist practice, social constructs of race, research methods, society organisations and research funding structures. Megan and Mignonne began by talking about why the racial equity taskforce was set up, how they determined what to do and the findings of the SRNT policy review. They then discuss wider issues of race and inequality that run throughout academia, describing how health disparity research can be suppressed and discouraged as well as the impact of the tobacco industry’s racist history. The discussion then focuses on how key research concepts – including methods often considered central to public health research – need to change or be replaced in order to eliminate the impact of structural racism on research and on population health. They finally offer advice to organisations about how to undertake their own racial equity reviews. “When we look at our policies and we see that there’s nothing about race, no, that’s not surprising … because that’s how this invisible dominant whiteness takes over everything – by excluding those groups and not explicitly referring to other populations.” - Dr Mignonne Guy  “So, this scientific premise that we have been operating under and training …. so many scientists under that the population can be controlled for doesn’t work. [This] really does elevate the importance of studying specific populations because their experiences are so very different they can’t be controlled for.” - Dr Megan Piper “We’re asking people to divest from their scientific legacy and to try to construct something new and be part of that and pioneering this type of work” - Dr Mignonne Guy

Opioid agonist treatment, drug related deaths and dynamic models with Matt Hickman

Ep. 44
In this episode, Professor Matt Hickman talks about using population modelling to identify the population implications of Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT). He covers the impact that OAT has on drug-related deaths and other causes of mortality as well as how models can be used to explore what mortality rates would have been without OAT in New South Wales, Australia.Professor Hickman talks about their findings that, without OAT, the number of overdose deaths would have been 50% higher.“So, what we were trying to do in this study was to model the counter-factual of how many deaths there would be if there hadn’t been any opioid agonist treatment. In theory the ideal model would be a trial in which you have OAT versus no OAT in a population, now clearly that’s unethical and can’t be done.”He also talks about how the research team set up a dynamic model that they used to explore the data, matching incarceration and OAT records. They then used those data alongside findings from systematic reviews to model the hypothetical impact of OAT on a real population.“We’ve done models before, theoretical models which say ‘if we increase the opioid agonist treatment programme and we increase duration at a certain point what impact would that have?’ but that’s rarely based on actual real data. So …there’s modelling and there’s modelling, and this model is based on real empirical data and we think that gives it a bit more credence”. Original paper here: Modeling the population-level impact of opioid agonist treatment on mortality among people accessing treatment between 2001 and 2020 in New South Wales, Australia by Antoine Chaillon and colleagues. Published in Addiction (2022)