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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.
DOCUMENT 2012 HTM file
The government's alcohol strategy
The UK government alcohol strategy for England and Wales claims to signal a radical change to turn the tide against irresponsible drinking. After resisting the policy, headline is the commitment to setting a minimum per unit price for alcohol.
From national and local guidance, commissioners and services, a rounded picture of how much Britain knows about and responds to the needs of the relatives of problem drug users. Increasing recognition of needs has generally yet to be matched by systematic needs assessments or service provision.
UK government-funded pilot schemes found no crime reduction benefits from brief alcohol counselling for arrestees under the influence of drink, disappointing hopes that arrest referral would help quell late-night alcohol-related disorder. The schemes did however uncover many dependent drinkers.
STUDY 2012 HTM file
Screening for alcohol use in criminal justice settings: an exploratory study
At English prisons, police stations and probation offices, offenders and arrestees in this study usually scored as at least hazardous drinkers and over half as problematic on a drink problem survey; nearly all would have been identified by a much briefer screening method usually requiring just a single question.
Can repeat drink-driving offenders be swayed by just 30 minutes with a therapist, and would those minutes best be spent in motivational interviewing or providing information on alcohol? This Canadian study hints that 'Yes' is the answer to both questions – but only hints.
STUDY 2012 HTM file
Alcohol screening and brief intervention in primary health care
The primary health arm of the largest alcohol screening and brief intervention study yet conducted in Britain found that the proportion of risky drinkers fell just as much after the most minimal of screening and intervention methods as after more sophisticated and longer (but still brief) alternatives.
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.
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.
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