Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy
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llegal drug use is a hidden phenomenon however in recent times viable methods have been developed and applied to produce
regular and current prevalence and incidence estimates and model opiate addiction. While drug use continues to spread
at local and global levels the development of these methods to produce geographically distributed prevalence and incidence
estimates is essential for the planning and provision of effective treatment services. Diffusion models have been previously used to
model the geographic spread of a general epidemic. This research further develops the diffusion model to describe the geographic
spread of opiate use. The model is applied to data on opiate use in Ireland to model the geographic spread of opiate use. Results
indicated a decreasing pattern of infectious opiate users as the distance travelled from city A increases and an increasing number
of infectious opiate users when approaching city B. This research addresses the need for a valid model to describe the spatial spread
of opiate users both nationally and internationally for policy makers and service providers responsible for allocating increasingly
scarce funding for treatment services.The model is beneficial to planners and treatment service providers as it permits them to
apportion increasingly scarce funding and resources for drug treatment based on predicted client treatment requirements. This
globally applicable model also allows policy makers to determine where new drug treatment facilities could be required and make
budgetary provisions for facilities as and when the need arises.
Dr Dempsey completed her PhD in 2011 at Trinity College Dublin on modelling the prevalence, incidence and geographical spread of opiate use. She
is the Practice Lead at the Centre for Practice and Healthcare Innovation at Trinity College Dublin. Her research interests include addiction, inherited
risk of substance use, mathematical models for substance use and modelling health outcomes of substance users.
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