Professor Alex Baldacchino was invited by the Maltese Government on the 29th June 2018 as an expert to help and advise the Maltese Drug Commission and associated stakeholders on national drug strategic and operational issues. Professor Baldacchino was greatly honoured to participate in this event which was held at the Maltese Parliament building in Valletta as he was, with colleagues, instrumental, 30 years ago in setting up the first ever drug treatment facility in Malta.
The CARE project, funded by the Norwegian Research Council from 2016, is looking at the interface between mental health and child welfare services in Norway.
This will focus around the assessment of health and social care needs of children at risk especially children of mothers in opioid replacement treatment and others entering out of home care and children living in foster homes.
49th Middle East Medical Assembly (MEMA) 2018 focus on mental health is in line with the proper recognition of the challenges of a complex humanitarian emergency that has evolved to become one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. In addition, and since we are living in a conflict zone with an enormous array of mental health concerns, it has become a pressing need to raise awareness on mental health issues and enforce mental well-being strategies that would scale up responses to improve the mental health and psychosocial well-being of the population. Insight into mental health also requires the incorporation of neuroscience into both the mechanisms and mitigating factors for mental disorders, as well as where and how to focus research and treatment.
Professor Baldacchino will present current neurocognitive research insights into the consequences of chronic opioid use and also, in another session, present clinical guidelines following 15 years experience on one of the first Pain and Dependency Clinic in the UK. [link]
Alex Baldacchino and colleagues have developed a PC based Overdose RIsk InfOrmatioN (ORION) (http://orion-euproject.com/) decision making system as part of a European Commission funded programme. ORION was developed and piloted as an e-health psycho-educational tool to provide information to drug using individuals about the risks of suffering a drug overdose. 194 opioid dependent patients participated from 4 countries (Fife as the UK centre) N=39; Germany N=99; Italy N=40 and Denmark N=16. A structural equation model was fitted to summarise the predicted associations between perceived risk and willingness to change risks of opioid overdose. The degree of engagement with the tool (time spent and number of changes to overdose risk factors) was explored. The encouragement of drug users to engage in exploring changes to their overdose risk when presented on a computer screen appears to increase willingness to change risky behaviour.
(1) Baldacchino, A., Crocamo, C., Humphris, G., Neufeind, J., Frisher M., Scherbaum, N., Carra, G(2016). Decision support in addiction: the development of an e-health tool to assess and prevent risk of fatal overdose.The ORION Project. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine 133, 207–216.
(3) Carra G , Crocamo C, Humphris G, Neufeind J, Scherbaum N, Baldacchino A. (2017).Engagement in the ORION eHealth tool for opioid overdose prevention and self-efficacy: a preliminary study. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking 20, (12),762-768
(4) Humphris G , Carrà G,Frischer M,Neufeind J, Cecil J, Scherbaum N, Crome I, Baldacchino A (2017) Engagement in an E-health tool (ORION) predicts opioid-dependent patient likelihoodof behavioural change. Heroin Addiction Related Problems 19(5), 35-44