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Society for the Study of Addiction web site

Society for the Study of Addiction



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Alcohol Treatment Matrix

Effectiveness Bank Alcohol Treatment Matrix

Includes brief interventions

Drug Treatment Matrix

Effectiveness Bank Drug Treatment Matrix

Includes harm reduction

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Effectiveness Bank matrices

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Organisational functioning; Safeguarding the community

Key research on the influence of the treatment organisation on the effectiveness of drug treatment in the criminal justice system and allied settings. Asks whether the criminal justice context enhances or limits treatment (perhaps both), whether quality is better in smaller services, and whether treatment services should see themselves as family services.


S Seminal studiesK Key studiesR ReviewsG Guidancemore Search for more studies

Links to other documents. Hover over for notes. Click to highlight passage referred to. Unfold extra text Unfold supplementary text

K Inter-service networking by smaller agencies associated with evidence-based treatment (2008; free source at time of writing). Rather than large, well resourced corporations, among treatment agencies working with US criminal justice services, smaller organisations which networked with other organisations were more closely associated with the adoption of evidence-based substance use treatment practices. For discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

K Motivational interviewing style clashes with criminal justice context (2001). Actual performance of US probation staff after motivational interviewing training contradicted promising written responses, and the officers were rated as less ‘genuine’ than before – a probable example of organisational context limiting how far they could genuinely stay true to motivational principles. Same study described in this Findings essay. For discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

K Offenders do better in treatment if sanctions are credible and clear (2004). Offenders in New York ordered to the same residential therapeutic communities stayed longer and later committed fewer crimes if sent by criminal justice programmes which had credible sanctions and ensured offenders understand these and knew they were being monitored. For related discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

K Success factors for court-supervised treatment (2011; free source at time of writing). Distilled success-promoting characteristics from interviews with stakeholders in Californian districts with high-performing (crime reduction and programme completion) court-supervised drug treatment systems. “In effect, the policies and practices that were developed were not designed to ‘make’ participants change but instead … at cultivating the desire to want to change. In addition, the supportive role played by key stakeholders was perceived as … crucial.” For related discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

K Offenders respond to therapeutic community environment (2008; free source at time of writing). Initial impressions of a supportive and safe community predict how long residents will stay and their later substance use. Implication is that organisational changes which foster these impressions might improve outcomes.

R Transforming offender supervision into an agent for offender change (2002). Question addressed (p. 22) is how does the criminal justice supervision agency overcome the “social worker vs. law enforcement” conflict to transform itself into an agent not just for monitoring offenders, but bringing about positive changes in their behaviour. Associated supervision manual below. For discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

R Drug courts have the edge on usual adjudication (2012). Drug courts seek to transform the court from an adversarial arena focused on punishment to one focused on collaboration to help the offender overcome crime-generating substance use problems through treatment. Review tentatively concludes they reduce crime compared to usual proceedings.

R Female offenders particularly need holistic treatment (2008). Argues that treatment for female offenders should take into account the high prevalence of post-traumatic stress and other mental and physical health problems, and the importance of relationships and of their roles as mothers. Concludes that women respond best to holistic, integrated programmes which incorporate empowerment and peer mentoring and adopt a collaborative rather than an authoritarian approach.

R Do criminal justice settings undermine motivational interviewing? (2006). Asks whether the contradictions of at the same time helping and punishing, controlling and being client-centred (“motivational arm-twisting”), undermine motivational interviewing’s ethos and effectiveness. For discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

R G How treatment services can become ‘family sensitive’ ([Australian] National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, 2010). Reviews generic and substance use-specific research as a basis for guidance on organisational cultures and workforce development practices to help ensure drug treatment services safeguard children. Quotes review (2008) which says “the importance of having an organisational commitment to the development of family-focused interventions cannot be understated.” See also associated report (Australian National Council on Drugs, 2014) on policy and child protection systems in Australia related to implementing child and family sensitive practice in substance use services. For discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

R G Prison context poses special challenges for treatment (1999). Eminent US researchers pool their research knowledge and experience to identify and propose solutions to six common barriers to developing effective treatment programmes in prison. For discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

G Incorporating child protection in UK substance use services ([UK] Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, 2003). Results of an inquiry in to the welfare of and responses to children in the UK seriously affected by parental drug use. Includes (starting p. 82) guidance on incorporating child protection measures in the work of drug and alcohol services. Update published in 2006. For discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

G Whole-family recovery advocated in Scotland (Scottish Government, 2013). Guidance specific to substance use intended for all child and adult services, including drug and alcohol services. The role these services should play in a system which (Getting our Priorities Right is the title) prioritises child welfare. For related discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

G Manual for research-based offender supervision (2005). What research-based ‘tools of the trade’ (in the word of the title) does a criminal justice supervision agency need to transform it into a force for positive/therapeutic change in substance using and other offenders. Associated review above from the same author.

G US consensus on treatment in the criminal justice system ([US] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2005). Guidance endorsed by US experts includes the kinds of services feasible and desirable in the criminal justice/prison context.

more Search for all relevant Effectiveness Bank analyses or for sub-topics go to the subject search page and hot topics on why some treatment services are more effective than others and on child protection.

Matrix Bite Open Matrix Bite guide to this cell Open Matrix Bite guide and commentary. First ‘bites’ funded by Society for the Study of Addiction web site. Opens new window