Drugs Matrix logo Drug Treatment Matrix Bites course
The Drug Treatment Matrix Bites course consists of 25 ‘bites’ – commentaries on each of the five cells in the five rows covering harm reduction, treatment in general, medical and psychosocial modalities, and treatment to safeguard the community. The ‘bites’ lead students through the seminal and key studies, reviews, and guidance selected for each cell, prompting them to use the research to reflect on issues reaching to the heart of treatment.

‘Bites’ were sent weekly to our mailing list and remain in the Matrix for you to dip in to. Click button for whole Matrix or choose row from list below.
View matrix
Click here for corresponding Alcohol Treatment Matrix.
The five rows

Row 1 First task: save lives, reduce harm
From the start of modern-day harm reduction prompted by HIV, it was recognised that engaging drug users meant accepting them on their own terms, yet promoting addiction-ending change was also on the agenda. A common theme across the row is how this core dilemma affects service delivery and impact.

Row 2 What is treatment for?
Your chance to lift your eyes from the treatment bench and reflect on what it’s all about: To do what patients want, or what local and national authorities want? And what do patients want? Is relapse after treatment a failure, or a sign it was working?

Row 3 Doctors and drugs
The centrality of medications most clearly marks an intervention as medical. But medications are never all there is to medical care. The evidence places them in the context of practitioners, managements and organisations, and local systems through which patients access treatment and sustain their recovery.

Row 4 The talking road to recovery
Every treatment involves human interaction, but this row is about therapies in which interaction is intended to be the main active ingredient. Research teaches us to see these as the individualised enactment of the client-worker relationship within the contexts of management systems and organisational climates.

Row 5 Reducing crime, protecting families
About treatment intended to safeguard the community. A common theme is the potential contradictions involved in offering or imposing treatment centred on the patient’s welfare within a system which prioritises the wider community, and sees the patient essentially as a threat.


More ways to appreciate the matrices
Visit the matrices page of the Effectiveness Bank web site for articles, presentations, and a video explaining their genesis and construction.

Help make it better
Whether or not you followed the course, please give us your feedback as part of the Effectiveness Bank user survey.

Created by Drug and Alcohol Findings. The drug treatment course was funded by the Society for the Study of Addiction. The Drug Treatment Matrix was constructed in association with and part-funded by the Substance Misuse Skills Consortium. Further funding was received from Alcohol Research UK, which co-manages the project with DrugScope, Alcohol Concern and the National Addiction Centre.