Effectiveness Bank web site Matrix
Supported by Alcohol Change UK web site. The national UK charity that aims to create evidence-driven change to reduce alcohol-related harm Alcohol Change UK
The national charity working
to end alcohol harm through
evidence-driven change

Alcohol Treatment Matrix logo Alcohol Treatment Matrix
The Alcohol Treatment Matrix is a unique map of seminal and key research and guidance. Each of the five rows on brief interventions, treatment generically, medical treatment, psychosocial therapies, and treatment’s role in community and child protection, is subdivided by the columns of the matrix, moving out from the interventions, through the influence of practitioners, management, and organisations, to whole treatment systems. Each of the resulting 25 cells selects and explains research which set new directions, challenged orthodoxy, and confirmed or confounded ‘common sense’, making us reconsider policy and practice. Open the matrix and click on cells, or choose a row to focus on from the list below.
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ROW 1 Finding and advising risky drinkers
Key research testing a core public health strategy – screening and brief intervention. Part prevention, part treatment, these programmes identify risky drinkers at locations such as GPs’ surgeries and emergency departments and then deliver brief advice to reduce risk. Do they work well enough – and can they be implemented widely enough – to reduce alcohol-related harm across a population?

ROW 2 Fundamentals of alcohol treatment
Explores elements shared by effective treatments. Driven by the ‘negative’ findings of what should have been a groundbreaking US trial, a pivotal moment was the (re-)recognition that interventions work partly because their cultural fit bequeaths them this power. If this makes treatment seem little more than a placebo, try reframing that, and seeing the ‘placebo effect’ as the major active ingredient.

ROW 3 Drink, doctors and medications
The centrality of medications most clearly marks an intervention as medical, but for this ‘disease’, medications do not have reliable, mechanical effects. The evidence challenges us to place drugs in the context of the practitioners delivering them, managements and organisations which shape the therapeutic environment, and the local treatment system’s preparatory, supportive and follow-on care.

ROW 4 The talking route to recovery
Psychosocial or ‘talking’ therapies – the mainstay of alcohol treatment, in which human interaction is intended to be the main active ingredient. Are effective therapies really all the same ‘under the bonnet’, and what do we know now about the validity of Carl Rogers’ classic account of the prerequisites of effective therapy?

ROW 5 Beyond the patient: impacts on family and community
Final row defocused from the patient to ask what treatment can do for the rest of us by reducing crime and safeguarding families and communities. Core theme was the playing out of the contradictions between segregation and reintegration, care and control.

Alcohol Treatment Matrix for alcohol brief interventions and treatment
Drug Treatment Matrix for harm reduction and treatment in relation to illegal drugs
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The Drug and Alcohol Findings Effectiveness Bank offers a free mailing list service updating subscribers to UK-relevant evaluations of drug/alcohol interventions. Findings is supported by the Society for the Study of Addiction and Alcohol Change UK.