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.

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 main topic addressed


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 2018 HTM file
Measuring alcohol-related harm; politics and science

At a national level, alcohol-related harm and especially the net cost of harm versus benefits are slippery concepts. Malleability and policy salience combine to make the estimates contested territory.

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?

HOT TOPIC 2018 HTM file
Acupuncture: potential value of a ‘theatrical placebo’

Asks whether acupuncture helps treat substance use problems and, if it does, whether this is ‘just’ a placebo effect. Is there something valuable here which has not yet been proven to work, or is trying to find proof a dead end?

HOT TOPIC 2018 HTM file
Can 12-step mutual aid bridge recovery resources deficit?

Can mutual aid groups based on AA’s 12 steps help bridge the gap between heightened ambition for recovery from addiction and diminished public resources. That largely depends on whether the worldwide popularity of the steps is matched by evidence of effectiveness.

HOT TOPIC 2018 HTM file
Computerised therapies: sacrificing effectiveness for wider access?

Among culturally accepted vehicles for delivering substance use interventions, computers, mobile phones and tablets are joining face-to-face work. Are we sacrificing effectiveness for convenience and economy?

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Focus on the families

Both as a treatment resource for the patient and a group needing support in their own right, a UK report described families affected by substance use as the “forgotten” carers. Here we turn the focus on the “unheard and unseen victims when a loved one uses drugs or alcohol”.

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Does it matter if ‘addiction is a brain disease’

Dismissed as a chimera leading down expensive blind alleys or hailed as a scientific breakthrough and vindication for ‘sufferers’, the brain-disease model of addiction has been attracting research dollars and high-level support. True or false or somewhere in between, it has important implications for treatment.

HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
‘My GP says I drink too much’: screening and brief intervention

In the absence of more or less inescapable impediments to heavy drinking like ramping up the price of cheap alcohol, widespread screening and brief advice have been the great hope for drink-related public health improvements. Patchy effectiveness and poor implementation have led that ambition to be questioned.

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 2017 HTM file
Hepatitis C ‘giant’ still growing

For a time it seemed impossible to reverse the epidemic of injecting-related hepatitis C infection. Now we know that aided by new treatments which clear the infection, it can be done – but will we?


Select search results page

NEXT 1 2 3 4 5