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A realist review of how community-based drug checking services could be designed and implemented to promote engagement of people who use drugs

Masterton, W, Falzon, D, Burton, G, Carver, H, Wallace, B, Aston, E, Sumnall, H, Measham, F, Gittins, R, Craik, V, Schofield, J, Little, S and Parkers, T (2022) A realist review of how community-based drug checking services could be designed and implemented to promote engagement of people who use drugs. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19 (19). ISSN 1660-4601

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With rising numbers of drug-related deaths in the UK and globally, exploration of interventions that seek to reduce drug-related harm is essential. Drug checking services (DCS) allow people to submit drug samples for chemical analysis and receive feedback about the sample, as well as harm reduction advice. The use of DCS is often linked to festival and/or nightlife settings and to so-called ‘recreational’ drug use, but research has also shown the potential of community-based DCS as an intervention serving more varied demographics of people who use drugs, including more marginalised individuals and those experiencing drug dependence. Whilst there is a growing evidence base on the effectiveness of drug checking as a harm reduction intervention, there is still limited evidence of the underlying mechanisms and processes within DCS which may aid implementation and subsequent engagement of people who use drugs. This presents a challenge to understanding why engagement differs across types of DCS, and how best to develop and deliver services across different contexts and for different populations. To explore the contexts and mechanisms which impact engagement in community-based DCS, a realist review was undertaken to synthesise the international evidence for the delivery and implementation of DCS. There were 133 sources included in the review. From these sources the underlying contexts, mechanisms, and outcomes relating to DCS implementation and engagement were developed and refined into seven programme theories. The findings of this review are theoretically novel and hold practical relevance for the design of DCS, with implications for optimisation, tailoring, and implementing services to reach individuals in different settings.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Toxicology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1190 Toxicology. Poisions
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: MDPI AG
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2022 09:09
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2022 09:30
DOI or ID number: 10.3390/ijerph191911960
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17580
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