Research for straitened times
Effectiveness Bank bulletin 17 January 2013

Three additions to the Effectiveness Bank question whether in these straitened times we really need to do as much as we've been used to, while the fourth evaluates a way reduce Britain's partly alcohol/drug fuelled welfare and crime costs.

First of the three is a way to screen for drink problems which is surely as brief as it gets – a single question. Then a very brief (half an hour) way to help repeat drink drivers, and finally a Scottish trial whose results challenge the long-term need to make methadone patients take medication under supervision. Fourth study evaluates an intensive intervention to tackle what the UK sees as a huge problem – its unemployed, lone-parent and in childbearing, crime and welfare spending terms, most prolific families, a third each of whom have drink and drugs on their extensive problem menus.

Single question identifies most problem drinkers

Can you get away with asking just a single question to identify risky and even dependent drinkers? When the thresholds are suitably adjusted, asking either about frequency of heavy drinking or maximum single-occasion consumption worked remarkably well in the US general population. Results could help extend screening to more venues and more of the patient population.

Half-hour of advice may cut drinking in drink-driving offenders

Will repeat drink-driving offenders really 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.

Scottish trial challenges need to supervise methadone

What happens when stabilised opiate-addicted patients are suddenly no longer required to take their methadone under supervision but can take it away from the pharmacy? In Scotland this was tried in the first UK randomised trial; patients stayed longer in treatment and there was no dramatic escalation in heroin use.

Troubled families improve after family intervention

Family interventions are at the heart of the UK government's ambition to 'turn round' the lives of 120,000 troubled families across England. In respect of drink and drug problems, substantial remission was noted by the end of the family interventions, but the study could not show these were the cause.

Sent by the Drug and Alcohol Findings Effectiveness Bank to alert you to site updates and recent 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.