Prevention and early intervention: Theme lead: Betsy Thom

Our research reflects the broad definition of prevention as suggested by the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (2015: 12):

…drug prevention may include any policy, programme, or activity that is (at least partially) directly or indirectly aimed at preventing, delaying or reducing drug use, and/or its negative consequences such as health and social harm, or the development of problematic drug use.

The Centre’s work includes research on drug prevention in schools, for example, investigation of different techniques such as ‘theatre in education’. More widely, we have a focus on perceptions of risk and attitudes towards risk-taking among young people (e.g. vaping, accounts of alcohol and drug use among youth in the criminal justice system). How risk and alcohol/drug-related harm is perceived by specific population groups and by the general public, the communication of risk messages to the general public and to specific population groups (e.g. pregnant women) are also central to the Centre’s interests. Early-intervention work has focussed on the role of practitioners in adopting and delivering brief interventions with their clients (e.g. the use of alcohol identification and brief advice approaches by non-clinical practitioners) and in providing early intervention in families affected by problem substance use. These topics are reflected in our publications.

Current and recent research

  1. Aileen O’Gorman (PI, Univ. West of Scotland); Anne Whittaker (Univ. Stirling); Alison Munro (Univ. of Dundee); Stewart Mercer (Edinburgh Univ.); Roy Robertson (Edinburgh Univ.); Betsy Thom (Middlesex Univ.); Andrea Mohan (Univ. of Dundee) Understanding the Role and Potential of Primary Care in the Prevention of Drug Deaths post COVID-19. Funded: Scottish Government, Drugs Deaths Taskforce. 2020.
  2. Alexis-Garsee C. Young people’s experiences, beliefs and risk perception of vaping using THC Vape Oil: A qualitative study. Funded: Middlesex University Knowledge Transfer Fund, 2019-present.
  3. Thom B. and Annand F. Prevention and early intervention responses to inter-generational transmission of problem alcohol and drug use in the family: A literature review. Middlesex Department of Mental Health, Social Work and Integrated Practice, Small Grant Programme, 2020
  4. Thom B., Duke K., Herring R. Alcohol and Public Health: Framing and Communicating Risk.  Funded: Alcohol Change UK, Network Development Grant, 2018.
  5. Herring, R., Thom, B and Duke, K. An exploratory study of the use of theatre performance in schools drug education in the UK. Funded: Middlesex Department of Mental Health, Social Work and Integrative Medicine Small Grant Programme, 2018.
  6. Thom B. and Foster J., Standardizing measurement of alcohol related troubles (RARHA), Funded: Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC), EU joint action, 2014 – 2016.