Publications & Reports

Assessing causality in drug policy analyses: How useful are the Bradford Hill criteria in analysing take-home naloxone programs?

Olsen A, McDonald D, Lenton S, Dietze PM


The Bradford Hill criteria for assessing causality are useful in assembling evidence, including within complex policy analyses. In this paper, we argue that the implementation of take-home naloxone (THN) programs in Australia and elsewhere reflects sensible, evidence-based public health policy, despite the absence of randomised controlled trials. However, we also acknowledge that the debate around expanding access to THN would benefit from a careful consideration of causal inference and health policy impact of THN program implementation. Given the continued debate around expanding access to THN, and the relatively recent access to new data from implementation studies, two research groups independently conducted Bradford Hill analyses in order to carefully consider causal inference and health policy impact. Hill’s criteria offer a useful analytical tool for interpreting current evidence on THN programs and making decisions about the (un)certainty of THN program safety and effectiveness.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: Drug and Alcohol Review
  • Published: 01/05/2018
  • Volume: 37
  • Issue: 4
  • Pagination: 499-501


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