Effectiveness Bank bulletin 15 July 2013

First two of these additions to the Effectiveness Bank are about unintended consequences of no-drinking laws – for underage drinkers and drivers and the victims of their drink-driving, and for street drinkers. Perhaps (next entry) some of this harm could have been prevented if school-based prevention had focused on reducing harm rather than preventing substance use. Lastly, high buprenorphine doses help keep opiate-addicted patients in treatment – but in the 'recovery' era, is this what we want?

Read our analyses of the 'hot' topics which arouse controversy due to their importance and significant differences of opinion over the facts or over their interpretation:
Hot topics archive Complete set of current and past hot topics

Driving to avoid minimum drinking age costs lives
This meticulous analysis reveals that increasing the legal drinking age can cause traffic accident deaths if underage drinkers can drive to a nearby jurisdiction with a lower age limit to legally buy and drink alcohol, returning unfit to drive safely. The message is that such limits need to be uniform to have the maximum beneficial impact.

Winners and losers from street drinking bans
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 finds such measures do reassure communities, but at the expense of further marginalising street drinkers.

More support for harm reduction education on drinking
Alcohol outcomes from an Australian secondary school harm reduction curriculum covering legal and illegal drugs strengthened the case that such education can not only curb harms, but also reduce consumption. Results suggest this approach might offer a more fruitful focus for education about commonly used substances than simply promoting non-use.

Higher buprenorphine doses work better but individualisation is key
How much buprenorphine does it take to keep patients in treatment and suppress illicit use of heroin and other opiate-type drugs? This review concludes that on average higher is better than lower largely because of extended retention – but is this a sign that higher doses are locking people in to treatment instead of making it possible for them to do without it?

Sent by the Drug and Alcohol Findings Effectiveness Bank to alert you to site updates and UK-relevant evaluations and reviews of drug/alcohol interventions. Managed by DrugScope, Alcohol Concern and the National Addiction Centre. Supported by Alcohol Research UK and the J. Paul Getty Jr. Charitable Trust.