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REVIEW 2015 HTM file
Heroin on trial: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials of diamorphine-prescribing as treatment for refractory heroin addiction

The UK has a long history of prescribing heroin for the treatment of heroin dependence. What has research from six countries concluded about this intensive intervention intended for patients who would otherwise be considered ‘unresponsive’ to treatment?

STUDY 2014 HTM file
Alcohol screening and brief interventions for offenders in the probation setting (SIPS trial): a pragmatic multicentre cluster randomized controlled trial

The probation arm of the largest alcohol screening and brief intervention study yet conducted in Britain found that the proportion of offenders drinking at risky levels fell just as much after the most minimal of screening and intervention methods as after more sophisticated and longer alternatives.

REVIEW 2014 HTM file
Buprenorphine maintenance versus placebo or methadone maintenance for opioid dependence

Authoritative analysis of clinically relevant trials of buprenorphine versus methadone maintenance for heroin dependence confirms that buprenorphine has less ‘holding power’, and that among patients who are retained, there are equivalent reductions in illegal drug use. But is methadone’s ‘stickiness’ an advantage or a liability?

DOCUMENT 2014 HTM file
Time limiting opioid substitution therapy

Rather than being ‘parked’ on methadone, generally Britain’s heroin-addicted patients leave too soon to fully benefit, argue official government advisers on drug policy. Their report unambiguously countered concerns within the current UK government over methadone maintenance.

STUDY 2014 HTM file
Drugs: international comparators

After seeing how drug policy worked overseas, UK government ministers and officials returned saying, “there is no apparent correlation between the ‘toughness’ of a country’s approach and the prevalence of adult drug use”, and that “better health outcomes for drug users cannot be shown to be a direct result of the enforcement approach”.

STUDY 2014 HTM file
Model-based appraisal of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Wales

After similar analyses for England and Scotland comes this simulation of what a minimum unit price for alcohol would do for health, crime and workplace absence in Wales. The conclusion is the same: set at the right level, the policy substantially saves lives and reduces social impact by making (especially poor and heavy) drinkers cut back.

REVIEW 2014 HTM file
HIV prevention for adults with criminal justice involvement: A systematic review of HIV risk-reduction interventions in incarceration and community settings

Thorough search for evidence uncovers 37 studies which overall suggest that by tackling sexual and injecting risk behaviours, some interventions protect against HIV in adults with a history of criminal justice involvement. Methadone maintenance emerged as the best established.

STUDY 2014 HTM file
For whom does prison-based drug treatment work? Results from a randomized experiment

For the first time in a prison setting a randomised trial rigorously compared intensive residential therapeutic community treatment to outpatient counselling. Confounding expectations, the US prison for problem drug users which hosted the study gained nothing in terms of preventing recidivism by allocating even high-risk prisoners to the more intensive treatment.

STUDY 2013 HTM file
Criminal justice responses to drug related crime in Scotland

In one expert package, the recent history, results, achievements and possible drawbacks of Scotland's concerted attempt to engage drug-driven offenders in treatment at nearly every stage of the criminal justice system. Widening treatment access may have been the main plus, also widening entanglement in the criminal justice system the main minus.

DOCUMENT 2013 HTM file
Community loses from failure to offer maintenance prescribing in prisons

An international team of experts has argued that failure to implement effective opioid maintenance programmes in prison represents an important missed opportunity to engage high-risk drug users in treatment, at possibly substantial costs to the individuals and to the community. Is Britain too losing out, and how does the future look?


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