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Effectiveness Bank bulletin 4 February 2015
Saving lives is the theme, of heroin and other opiate users by prescribing substitutes like methadone and supplying non-medical personnel with the overdose-reversing medication naloxone, and of drinkers in Wales by eliminating the cheapest sources of alcohol. ‘Recovery coaches’ are prominent in guidance and discourse on recovery from addiction but not so prominent in the research.

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Opiate substitute prescribing saved lives in Sweden
Sweden’s restrictions on opiate substitute prescribing have meant that country has been able provide solid evidence for extending the treatment. Latest example concludes that in Sweden just such an extension was associated with and may have led to decreases in opiate-related deaths and illness.
Also see similar Norwegian study.

WHO backs naloxone to prevent opiate overdose deaths
Experts convened by the World Health Organization judged the risk-benefit profile strongly in favour of naloxone distribution to prevent opiate overdose deaths, but cautioned that this “does not address the underlying causes of opioid overdose”.
Also see Effectiveness Bank hot topic on naloxone and the UK’s record in controlling drug-related deaths.

Ending cheap drink would save lives in Wales
After similar analyses for England and Scotland, this simulation of what a minimum unit price for alcohol would do for health, crime and workplace absence in Wales predicts it would save lives and reduce social impact by making (especially poor and heavy) drinkers cut back.

Official US review assesses evidence for ‘recovery coaches’
Review commissioned by the US government to establish the evidence for former problem substance users acting as peer supporters and ‘recovery coaches’ found little solid research, but some encouragement for services considering this widely recommended recovery aid.

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