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Comiskey, Catherine and Cox, Gemma and Sheehy, Louis and Kelly, Paul and Leckey, Yvonne and O’Duill, Barry (2007) ROSIE baseline data. Dublin: National Advisory Committee on Drugs.

PDF (ROSIE baseline data 2007) - Published Version

The Research Outcome Study in Ireland Evaluating Drug Treatment Effectiveness (ROSIE) is the first prospective study of treatment outcomes for opiate users to be conducted in Ireland. The study did not seek to evaluate treatment services but rather treatment outcomes. The study recruited opiate users on entry into three index treatments; methadone, structured detoxification and abstinence-based treatment programmes. In addition, a sub-sample of opiate users was recruited from needle exchanges. These modalities were chosen in consultation with the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) as they were considered to represent the most widely implemented interventions for opiate users in Ireland. Services and/or individuals providing treatment in both community (local community based services, out-patient clinics, and General Practitioner surgeries) and residential (in-patient detoxifications, residential rehabilitation and prison-based services) settings throughout the country were included in the research.

Baseline data collection officially commenced in September 2003 and concluded in June 2004. Participants were interviewed at treatment intake, or as soon as possible thereafter, and again at 6 months and 12 months and 36 months after the baseline interview, thereby providing a natural history of an opiate using cohort. Data were collected by means of a structured interview. Trained fieldworkers carried out all ROSIE interviews. The interview instrument contained items and scales developed specifically for the project as well as measures adapted from other published research instruments (for example, NTORS and DORIS). This comprehensive set of outcome measures detailed the social and psychological characteristics, the drug use, the health and the crime characteristics of the cohort. A range of treatment processes and treatment pathways were also measured.

The current report presents baseline data on the 404 ROSIE study participants interviewed at treatment intake. Over half the study population were recruited from methadone programmes (53.2%, n=215) provided across three settings; health board clinics, community-based clinics and General Practitioners. One-fifth of the population (20%, n=81) were recruited from structured detoxification programmes (in-patient and out-patient facilities). A similar proportion of individuals (20.3%, n=82) were interviewed in abstinence-based treatment programmes and the remaining 6.4% (n=26) of participants were recruited from needle exchanges. The average age of the sample was 28 years (median=27 years) and one-quarter of study participants were female (n=102). More than three-quarters (77%, n=306) of the study population reported heroin use in the three months prior to interview, the rate and frequency of use varied across treatment modality. At baseline interview the majority of participants were poly-drug users (76%, n=308). Tobacco, cannabis, alcohol, cocaine and benzodiazepines were commonly used in addition to opiates. The majority of study participants, 87% (n=352) had engaged in some form of formal treatment for their drug use, prior to commencing their index treatment for this study. Most respondents reported a history of injecting drug use (76.6%, n=308); the proportion of participants who reported recently injecting (last three months) was lower (44%, n=177). This was affected by the fact that one-fifth of the study sample was entering an abstinence based programme. The sample experienced a range of physical and mental health problems at baseline interview. One-third of the cohort attempted suicide at least once, and 46% (n=177) had an accidental overdose at least once. Criminal activity was also common among study participants over half of the cohort (65%) had spent some time in prison.

The data in this document is presented firstly for the study population as a whole and secondly separately, within the appendices, for participants in each of the three treatment modalities and needle exchange. The analysis of the ROSIE baseline data highlights that Irish treatment services are facing broadly the same challenges identified in other countries.

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