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Australian magazine highlights use of technology in substance use treatment

The use of technology as an aid to substance abuse treatment was explored in a special edition of Drug and Alcohol Review, the leading substance abuse scientific journal in Australia. The said issue contained reports and studies from different researchers who all investigated the effect of using new technologies such as mobile phones, computers, and the Internet to substance abuse treatment.

Dr. Kypros Kypri, the editor of the special issue and co-author of one of the featured studies, disclosed that the issue also has articles on the role of technology in research about alcohol and drug related problems.

Here are some of the featured studies and reports in a nutshell.

Dr. Kypri’s co-authored the article about the Tertiary Health Research Intervention Via Email program, which is dubbed as THRIVE. This program was developed by a scientist from New Zealand and Australia led by Jonathan Hallet from Curtin University in Perth. Developed as an alcohol intervention program for university students, THRIVE was evaluated with around 7000 university students logged on. These students undertook a screening and 34% were found to have unhealthy drinking problems.

Slyvia Kauer and her colleagues’ study was also targeted at young people using alcohol. These researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne launched a school based experiment wherein they equipped year 9 and 11 pupils and other “at risk adolescents” a mobile phone through which they would document the participant’s alcohol use, recreational activities, and mood. Of the total participants, Kauer and her team found that 61% of the students and 88% of the “at-risk adolescents” drank alcohol. Kauer also reported that the days when the said participants consumed alcohol were characterized by less study hours and more sleeping time.

Also included in the issue was an article about CounsellingOnline’s record setting 33,000 visits. CounsellingOnline is a counselling website that offers live online chat like counselling sessions as well as a host of drug abuse related information. The record visits were a first for any Australian website to date.

A new program for quitting smoking called QuitCoach was also featured in the issue. This web-based screening and intervention program was developed by Dr. James Balmford and his colleagues from the Cancer Council in Victoria. In a quick description of their service, Dr. Balmford noted that most of the smokers who use QuitCoach were females and that they were generally younger than most smokers. The doctor also noted that such statistics suggest that technology-based intervention programs like QuitCoach can potentially attract a new population of substance abuser to treatment.

“Drug treatment is keeping up with the rest of the world in terms of use of the Internet and computers for treatment,” says Associate Professor Nicole Lee, co-editor of the special issue. “The number of people that use the Internet to access information means these interventions can reach large numbers of people who may not ordinarily come into treatment.

The Internet holds a vast resource of information regarding substance abuse and ways to prevent and treat it. Start educating yourself about substance here at this website where you would find the latest addiction research and treatment news. Miramar Recovery Center is an exclusive rehab center offering alcohol, drug, and co-occurring disorder treatment Washington. For more information, all out helpline today.

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