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Is regular counselling really essential to the effectiveness of methadone maintenance treatment, or are treatment entry and the power of high-dose methadone enough in themselves for many patients? At least in the first four months, this US study suggests the latter.
In Hawaii and then the less promising schools of Chicago, a primary school programme aiming to improving school climate and pupil character development had substantial and, in Chicago, lasting preventive impacts – another illustration that focusing on drugs is not always the best way to prevent drug problems.
From the early 2000s cognitive-behavioural group therapy programmes have been relied on to improve the anti-offending record of UK probation services. Now the first independent evaluation of the main programme for substance users has found no impact on reconviction even among offenders who completed the 20 sessions.
REVIEW 2011 HTM file
The Good Behavior Game and the future of prevention and treatment
From the researchers involved in the trials, a practitioner-friendly account of research on the classroom management technique implemented in the first years of schooling which has led to remarkably strong and persistent impacts on substance use and other problems in later life.
Drug-involved offenders have different needs related to their offending (in particular for addiction treatment) and pose different levels of risk for a return to crime after usual sentencing options. This US study confirmed that needs and risk are independent dimensions which can be measured and used to adjust sentencing to reduce recidivism.
REVIEW 2011 HTM file
Adult drug courts
Recent US drug court studies reviewed for the US Congress by its audit and evaluation office support their crime-reduction credentials, though most studies are methodologically weak. Generally too, benefits outweigh costs, but not consistently.
For the first time this Canadian randomised study has shown that training probation officers in the risk-need-responsivity model of offender supervision can not only improve their skills and sharpen their practice, but also reduce the recidivism of the offenders they supervise, among whom substance use was a major issue.
In pubs and clubs, especially for young patrons, out-of-control intoxication is sometimes the aim rather than an undesirable outcome to be prevented. How in these circumstances to reduce use and harm has been investigated in the 17 studies analysed in this review.
Though drinking problems were widespread, Scottish probation and community service staff were unconvinced of the appropriateness of screening their offender clients for risky drinking and (if indicated) offering brief advice. Not a priority, was the common feeling.
STUDY 2011 HTM file
Achieving positive change in the drinking culture of Wales
This research report usefully reflects evidence from reviews and recent and seminal studies, offering guidance not just on each intervention type, but on what the most effective mix might be in Wales and by extension in the UK as a whole if the aim is to affect drink-related harm at the level of the whole population.
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