In a back room in Tottenham – at least, the bit that relates to evaluating interventions. Since 1999 Findings has been collecting, analysing and disseminating evaluation research. Read our 10th anniversary report on how it started, and how it became the custodian of the largest working drug and alcohol library in Britain.
is managed by three national non-governmental agencies concerned with information, research and practical responses to drug and alcohol problems in Britain. Together with subject specialist Mike Ashton, Alcohol Concern, DrugScope and the National Addiction Centre responded to the need for increased investment in this sector to be guided by research on the effectiveness of the interventions being funded.
By the late '90s the need to link practice with research had been widely recognised but no specific mechanism existed to make the link a reality. Because it is the core business of neither side to link up with the other, these two sectors tend to be isolated from each other. Researchers talk to each other in academic journals, while practitioners have neither the time nor the ability to monitor the world evaluation literature and make sense of its findings.
In 1999 the partners to the project came together to bridge this divide by creating the Drug and Alcohol Findings magazine. The aim was to provide subscribers with the evidence they needed to demonstrate and improve the effectiveness of their interventions to treat, prevent or reduce drug and alcohol problems. Drawing on the resources of the project's partners, the magazine's editor monitored research from across the world, identified and obtained the evaluation studies, and selected those most relevant to the UK. To make the studies intelligible and useful to practitioners, in the magazine's Nuggets the findings were encapsulated, set in the context of earlier research, and the practice implications were explored. Also published were authoritative, practice-oriented reviews of the literature and extended analyses of key studies.
With support for three years from the J. Paul Getty Jr. Charitable Trust and later the Pilgrim Trust, from 2006 the Findings partnership set out to extend the project by replacing the magazine with a free web-based service called the Effectiveness Bank. From November 2010 the service was part-funded by Alcohol Research UK (formerly the AERC) and the following year received a further three-year grant from the J. Paul Getty Jr. Charitable Trust. By this time the web site had been stocked with the entire contents of the past 15 issues of the magazine – 230 Nuggets and similar items analysing over 300 key studies plus 54 articles including in-depth analyses of priority topics such as opiate overdose prevention, how to prevent the spread of hepatitis C, and the importance of the manner in which patients are treated. The Effectiveness Bank is also continually updated as new research is selected for inclusion from the world literature on 'what works' in responding to substance misuse. All these documents can be searched by subject or by using the free-text search facility.