Effectiveness bank home page. Opens new window Hot topics

Below is a list of all 45 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, the year the hot topic was last updated, and the type of file you will download when you click on the title. In blue is the hot topic’s title followed by a brief description.

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HOT TOPIC 2016 HTM file
Should we start prevention in the cradle?

Focusing on the early years to avert substance use problems makes sense, but does it work?

HOT TOPIC 2016 HTM file
Prizes for not using drugs?

Contingency management programmes reward patients for complying with treatment or not engaging in undesired substance use. It works, but often only temporarily – and perhaps at the cost of eroding the patient’s confidence and motivation.

HOT TOPIC 2016 HTM file
Is it futile to match alcohol treatments to the patient?

Even if overall one type of therapy for problem drinking is no better than another, surely this is just because certain therapies worked best with certain patients? Expectations that ‘matching’ would lead to improved outcomes were dashed in what was intended to be the definitive test, but it would be premature entirely to dismiss the idea.

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 2015 HTM file
Prescribing opiate-type drugs to opiate addicts: good sense or nonsense?

For decades deeply felt and at times intemperate debate has surrounded a treatment which achieves unparalleled success by going with the grain of addiction, prescribing the same type of drug which opiate-dependent patients used illegally – a substitution castigated as surrender or hailed as an enlightened lifesaver.


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