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. Sorted by the main topic addressed, 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.

Click blue titles to view full text in a new window
Use the selectors at the bottom to turn to the next page in the list of documents
Re-order the list by the most recently added or updated hot topics


If you have not found what you want you could:
Select from the full range of topics and search options available on our topic search page.
Instead try a free text search for documents which contain the words you specify.
Or try browsing back issues of the magazine or recent bulletins.
Documents are regularly added. Use the e-mail update service to monitor additions.
Try the information services provided by partner agencies.
Tried everything? E-mail the Findings editor for help by clicking on this logo Drug and Alcohol Findings logo



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 2016 HTM file
Motivational interviewing: fast and flexible counselling style

Introduces and evaluates the most influential approach in substance use counselling in Britain – one perhaps as widely misunderstood as it is practised. Great advantage is applicability to substance users from the risky to the dependent.

HOT TOPIC 2016 HTM file
Are the drugs enough? Counselling and therapy in substitute prescribing programmes

Explore the somewhat heretical proposition that the counsellor can virtually be dispensed with in opiate substitute prescribing programmes with little loss of impact. The gain would be that methadone could be spread ‘thin and wide’, reaching more potential patients.

HOT TOPIC 2016 HTM file
Treatment staff matter

By focusing on the intervention as if it were a mechanical lever, research has not just ignored but sought to eliminate what now seems a more important factor – the influence of the practitioner and how they relate to the patient.

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Substance use treatment as part of a ‘wrap-around’ package of care

Asks whether supplementing addiction treatment with ‘wrap-around’ services is a distraction, or part of the core business of sustainably overcoming addiction. What’s for sure is that mental health, social and material resources, and the wherewithal for social inclusion, are all often lacking in addiction treatment caseloads; but does addressing these promote recovery?

HOT TOPIC 2016 HTM file
‘Recovery’: meaning and implications for treatment

Since 2008 the “recovery” objective has been at the heart of British drug treatment policy. Where did it come from and what does it mean for treatment services?

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 2016 HTM file
What do the patients want?

Focus is the apparently iconoclastic finding from a Scottish national treatment study that abstinence is the sole drug-focused goal for most patients in drug treatment: “At best these extrapolations were sloppy, at worst, deliberately misleading.”

HOT TOPIC 2016 HTM file
Individualising treatment: an obviously ‘good thing’?

Individualisation might seem an obvious and basic prerequisite to substance use treatment, but in fact services have often striven for uniformity.

HOT TOPIC 2018 HTM file
Cycle of Change: change promoter or benevolent fiction?

Its simplicity is beguiling, but does the ubiquitous cycle of change model simply describe the change process, or help predict and accelerate it?


Select search results page

PREVIOUS | NEXT 1 2 3 4 5