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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.
Synthesising the results of 154 studies, the most thorough and extensive investigation of the crime-reduction credentials of drug courts finds the evidence bulky but lacking quality, yet sufficient to support courts for adult illegal drug users if not (or not yet) teenagers or drink-drivers.
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.
From the UK health service standard-setting agency, guidance for commissioners on how to organise and procure alcohol treatment and brief intervention services in an area which implement related national clinical guidance and satisfy policy requirements.
DOCUMENT 2011 HTM file
Alcohol dependence and harmful alcohol use quality standard
From the UK health service standard-setting agency, a concise statement of 13 practices which constitute high quality health care for problem drinkers and good practice in identifying and advising hazardous drinkers - standards which may be used to assess and reward providers and health service commissioning authorities.
Compromised by an inability to interest enough patients, the only randomised UK trial of cognitive-behavioural therapy for methadone patients was unable to be definitive but did find some signs of benefit and that the therapy had pulled some of the intended psychological levers.
This review encapsulates the range of treatment assessment and improvement tools developed over decades by the Texas Christian University, widely recognised as the most comprehensive and systematic attempt to map the processes involved in treatment and to link these to interventions to improve outcomes for the client.
STUDY 2011 HTM file
Therapist effectiveness: implications for accountability and patient care
1 in 6 US therapists (mainly not specialising in substance use) typically ended up with clients whose substance use problems were significantly worse than when they started therapy, an indication perhaps that social workers and mental health counsellors find these issues especially hard to deal with.
In the English Midlands, problem-drinking offenders who agreed to be ordered in to alcohol treatment by the courts had a worse prognosis than comparable previous offenders but slightly fewer reoffended; also their drinking was reduced but for many remained excessive.
In Lancashire in northern England, problem-drinking offenders who agreed to be ordered in to alcohol treatment by the courts dramatically cut their drinking and offending and experienced improved health and wellbeing.
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