Effectiveness bank home page. Opens new window Hot topics

Below is a list of all 43 hot topics – essays by Drug and Alcohol Findings explaining the background and evidence relating to topics which sometimes prompt heated debate. They are a popular way to get up to speed on the issues which matter in drug and alcohol policy and practice in Britain, and often too internationally. Starting with the most recently added or updated hot topics, the list shows in orange the type of entry, year the original document was published (or if one of our own documents, the year last updated), and the type of file you will download when you click on the title. In blue is the document’s title followed by a brief description.

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HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Promoting recovery through employment

Employment is seen as the key to lasting recovery, but how realistic is it for people whose lifestyles have revolved around using and obtaining drugs?

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Cannabis is worth bothering with

Despite heroin, crack and overdose deaths at record levels, we examine the proposition that cannabis use is worth bothering with, including reports that stronger products are aggravating harms, prospects of recovery from problem use, and the emerging response to synthetic forms of cannabis like ‘spice’.

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
The ‘explosion’ that never happened; crack and cocaine use in Britain

In 1989 a whirlwind of concern was stirred up by a US drug enforcement officer who foresaw a US-style “explosion” of violence associated with the ‘almost instantly addictive’ crack version of cocaine in Britain. That did not happen – but what did, where do those claims stand today, and what of cocaine powder, for decades seen as the ‘champagne set’s’ favourite drug?

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Controlling alcohol-related crime and disorder

Within UK substance use policy alcohol-related violence and disorder has for decades been a high profile concern. For governments mindful of a drinking electorate, the conundrum is how to curb the fallout from drinking without being branded as a nanny-state killjoy.

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Protecting the children

How to protect the children of problem substance users can hardly be a more emotive and – since a US-inspired project came to Britain offering to pay drug users to be sterilised – contentious issue. Despite the issue’s profile, truly informative studies are few.

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Overdose deaths in the UK: crisis and response

Why did the fall in UK drug overdose deaths in 2009 to 2012 so decisively reverse in the following years? A life-threatening turn away from harm reduction, or simply an ageing population of heroin users?

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Overdose antidote naloxone takes harm-reduction centre stage

National programmes distributing the opiate overdose antidote naloxone have become the great hope for curbing the rise in overdose deaths, but England is lagging behind the rest of the UK – and planning for the likelihood not of recovery but relapse may for some services and patients be hard to accept.

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
It’s magic: prevent substance use problems without mentioning drugs

Analyses the evidence leading to the realisation that focusing on drugs is not necessarily the best way to prevent problem drug use; youth programmes addressing underlying vulnerabilities and structural influences have growing research support.

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Residential rehabilitation: the high road to recovery?

Asks whether residential rehabilitation is particularly suited to today’s abstinence-based recovery ambitions, and whether nevertheless these services are under threat, treated as a last resort rather than a front-line option.

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Should dependent drinkers always try for abstinence?

For decades no issue has been hotter than whether dependent drinkers should always be advised to aim for abstinence rather than controlled drinking. We detail the fascinating background to this question faced on entering treatment by every drinker and their counsellor.


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