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Effectiveness Bank bulletin 18 June 2015
Feeding back screening test results is a key tactic in brief alcohol interventions, but in two real-world trials it largely failed to curb student drinking. Screening and feedback depend on truthful answers – would pregnant women be that frank? Finally, beyond interventions targeting individuals is the more promising public health strategy of making cheap drink inescapably more expensive; who gains and who loses most?
The Alcohol and Drug Treatment Matrices: core research selected and explored
Alcohol matrix for alcohol brief interventions and treatment
Drug matrix for harm reduction and treatment in relation to illegal drugs

Web-based drinking feedback barely dents student ‘binges’
Findings from this multi-university study (said to be “as near to a real-world evaluation in a population of university students as is likely to be achieved”) in New Zealand seem an example of trials of brief alcohol interventions as they would be implemented in routine practice failing to match promising findings from less ‘real world’ trials.
Also see hot topic on whether brief alcohol interventions can improve population health.

Web-based brief alcohol intervention lacks impact in Swedish universities
A rare ‘real world’ trial of whether a routine and feasible brief alcohol intervention can have population-wide public health benefits found that among university students in Sweden, web-based screening had very minor impacts which were not enhanced by feeding back the implications of the results.

Identifying risky drinking in pregnancy
Heavy drinking by mothers-to-be threatens their unborn child – but for that very reason, women may shy away from admitting to it. This review found several brief screening questionnaires showed promise in identifying mothers who might need to cut back, while others seemed unsuitable for the antenatal care context.

Poor heavy drinkers most affected by minimum price
With this first UK survey providing data on price paid for alcohol plus consumption and income, evidence is converging on the conclusion that poor heavy drinkers would be most affected by a minimum per unit price, gaining most in health, but losing most in having to spend more or cut back on their drinking.
Also see this Effectiveness Bank hot topic for more on research, policy and politics in relation to setting a minimum per unit price for alcohol in the UK.

Sent by the Drug and Alcohol Findings Effectiveness Bank to alert you to site updates and UK-relevant evaluations of drug/alcohol interventions. Findings is supported by Alcohol Research UK and the Society for the Study of Addiction and advised by the National Addiction Centre and the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals.
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