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Scotland’s 2005 licensing reforms placed it in the vanguard across the UK, notably in adding public health to licensing objectives. There were important positives, but implementing this key measure foundered on the difficulty of relating decisions on individual licensed premises to health trends across an area.
Review updating knowledge to mid-2011 confirms that alcohol-related harm and illness have been curbed by increasing alcohol prices or taxes, but what happens to overall mortality remains unclear – and there is more to why people do or do not drink than health and harm.
Review assesses the effectiveness selling points of four largely ‘privatised’ brand-name family therapies for troubled and delinquent teens. Yes, they work better than usual or individualised approaches, but not much and not always, and most of the research has been done by people who stand to gain from positive findings.
This study of a cognitive-behavioural course for convicted drink-drivers in England and Wales found no evidence that it reduced the reconviction rate, another disappointing finding on this widely implemented family of crime- reduction approaches.
REVIEW 2009 HTM file
Alcohol and drug screening of occupational drivers for preventing injury
Exhaustive search finds just two rigorous studies of workplace testing for alcohol and/or drug use of people employed as drivers. For drugs there was some evidence of a long-term effect in averting injuries and deaths but in respect of both drugs and alcohol the evidence was too thin to support any particular policy.
From the USA, the first randomised trial of a post-prison therapeutic community designed for psychologically disturbed problem substance using offenders found it halved the numbers reimprisoned and did even better when preceded by similar in-prison treatment, confirmation that what happens when people leave prison can be critical.
Australia has been trying a novel way to curb alcohol-related disorder – banning late-night drinking venues admitting customers during the final few opening hours. The aim is to prevent disturbance-generating movements between bars. In one very distinctive area it may have worked, but in others the evidence is weak.
STUDY 2012 HTM file
The effectiveness of Prisoners Addressing Substance Related Offending (P-ASRO) programme: evaluating the pre and post treatment psychometric outcomes in an adult male category C prison
From the early 2000s cognitive-behavioural group therapy programmes have been relied on to improve the anti-offending record of UK prisons and probation services, but evidence has been scarce and generally negative. This prison study at least suggests that one such programme does promote the intended psychological changes.
REVIEW 2012 HTM file
Prohibiting public drinking in urban public spaces: a review of the evidence
So-called 'alcohol-free zones' have proliferated across the UK, preventing an individual drinking in public if police believe their drinking is causing a problem. This review of such measures finds they do reassure communities, but at the expense of further marginalising street drinkers.
The title speaks of long-term effects but in fact there were none from sending young US substance users to a youth therapeutic community specialising in substance use problems compared to non-specialist group homes; early gains had all eroded, an instance of the general difficulty of sustaining youth treatment outcomes.
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