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Lead researcher on influential analyses of the impact of possible alcohol pricing changes in the UK paints a picture of the state of play in drinking and related harms in England and how far these have or may be affected by national policy initiatives in a European and international policy context.
STUDY 2010 HTM file
Alcohol services in prisons: an unmet need
Prison inspections and surveys of prisoners and staff in England reveal a "depressing picture" of "very limited" services for problem drinking inmates, which leave them with poor prospects on release.
Uniquely among modern heroin prescribing trials, the trial in Germany was not confined to heroin-addicted patients who had done poorly on methadone, offering the opportunity to assess whether heroin should be reserved for these patients. The conclusion was that other patients too benefit more from injectable heroin than oral methadone.
STUDY 2010 HTM file
The Andalusian trial on heroin-assisted treatment: a 2 year follow-up
Heroin/cocaine addicts in Granada in Spain who were being prescribed heroin made greater sustained improvements in their illicit heroin use, crime and psychological health and showed signs of more social reintegration than patients who nearly three years before had been randomly allocated to methadone.
UK research is inconclusive, but international research from developed nations supports the belief that increasing on-licence opening hours leads to more drinking and more alcohol-related harm.
International research from developed nations offers some support for the belief that allowing or disallowing Saturday or Sunday alcohol sales and service affects drinking and alcohol-related harm.
In the first study of its kind opiate-dependent prisoners in Norway were randomly allocated to a six-month implant which blocks the effects of heroin or to methadone which substitutes for heroin as a way of bridging the period after release. Among the few interested in either option, they led to equivalent reductions in opiate use and crime.
Despite being motivated to sustain abstinence and implanted with a drug which should have blocked the effects of opiates, in Norwegian studies most opiate-dependent patients used opiates and about a quarter did so repeatedly.
Addicts attending a clinic twice a day to take prescribed heroin seems like a recipe for an unwelcome increase in local drug-related disorder and nuisance, but given (as there usually will be) small numbers, experience in London was that not much changed.
STUDY 2010 HTM file
A long term study of the outcomes of drug users leaving treatment
Support for the argument made by England's National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse that relapse is less likely if patients leave treatment after having successfully completed the programme rather than dropping out – but maybe staying in treatment for at least a few years is even better.
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