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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.
Largely due to the treatment's health benefits, this review argues 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 both to individuals and to the community.
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.
Up to a year after starting methadone treatment US patients offered virtually no counselling for the first four months were still doing as well as those offered regular counselling. But there is a hint that intensive and high quality counselling enabled more to safely leave treatment.
Prescribing oral methadone to heroin addicts divides opinions, but prescribing injectable heroin elevates the controversy to another level. Fortunately we now have six randomised clinical trials involving over 1500 patients to ground us in the evidence – and this European Union review to pull it all together.
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.
DOCUMENT 2012 HTM file
Will intensive testing and sanctions displace treatment?
Enforce frequent drug or alcohol testing and levy swift, certain and meaningful sanctions for substance use, and many dependent users stop using without treatment. Is this increasingly how problem use will be dealt with, or just a niche option applicable to users over whom society can exert sufficient leverage?
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