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The dynamics of heroin use; implications for intervention
  1. T Millara,
  2. N Craineb,
  3. T Carnwathc,
  4. M Donmalla
  1. aUniversity of Manchester Drug Misuse Research Unit, bPublic Health Laboratory, Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, cTrafford Substance Misuse Services
  1. Mr Millar, University of Manchester Drug Misuse Research Unit, Kenyon House, MHSS, Bury New Road, Manchester M25 3BL, UK (tim.millar{at}


STUDY OBJECTIVE To use a readily available dataset to detect periods of epidemic change and to examine the progression of heroin epidemics in different geographical areas. To consider the implications of epidemic change for strategies to tackle drug misuse.

DESIGN Comparison of trends in new treatment demand, observed incidence, and age specific population rates for treated heroin users in two geographical areas.

PARTICIPANTS Heroin users recorded to have sought treatment.

MAIN RESULTS The areas studied seem to show differences with respect to trends in new treatment demand, incidence of heroin use and distribution of age specific population rates; indicating that they may be at different epidemic stages.

CONCLUSIONS These analyses show how areas may differ with respect to epidemic progression of heroin use. It is essential that government strategies, and local responses to these, should be cognisant of these dynamics.

  • drug misuse
  • heroin
  • epidemic

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  • Funding: ongoing funding for elements of this work has been provided by the Greater Manchester Drug Action Partnership (Single Regeneration Budget) and North West Health Authorities.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.