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Victoria Carlisle

Name: Vicky Carlisle

Based at: University of Bristol

Supervisors: Matthew Hickman (University of Bristol), Joanna Kesten (University of Bristol)

Project title: A mixed-method study exploring the barriers and facilitators of recovery in opioid substitution treatment

Project summary: Outcomes for individuals in opioid substitution treatment (OST) for heroin dependency tend to be poorer than for those in treatment for alcohol and other drugs.  Numbers of individuals completing opioid substitution treatment are low and the reasons for this are not well understood.  Some have argued that opioid clients are being ‘parked’ on methadone treatment for too long, however many more clients will prematurely drop-out of treatment than will complete successfully. Using local drug treatment data, I will explore the factors that predict a) successful treatment completion and b) premature discharge from treatment in opioid clients.  I have conducted a systematic review and synthesis of 32 qualitative studies that explore the concepts of recovery and completion within OST, using the socioecological model as an analytical framework.  Finally, I am carrying out a series of semi-structured interviews with service users and stakeholders of a Bristol-based drug treatment organisation.  The triangulation of findings from these three approaches will inform policy and enable me to develop a complex intervention to improve outcomes in this population.

Practice engagement: I have undertaken a period of familiarisation in local treatment services, including shadowing the work of shared-care staff, group work and the work of a clinical psychologist.

Public engagement: I have been working with a local OST service user throughout the project. I have additionally sought feedback from stakeholders, service users and carers via Bristol’s Drug and Alcohol Health Integration Team (HIT), of which I am a member.

Find out more about Victoria Carlisle’s work.

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