Effectiveness Bank web site Additions
Supported by  Alcohol Research UK web site   Society for the Study of Addiction web site
Effectiveness Bank additions 19 October 2018
Six new entries with a strong emphasis on strategies for reducing alcohol-related harm and interventions tailored to the needs of particularly vulnerable, marginalised, and underserved groups. Four full-length analyses explore alcohol licensing, minimum unit pricing, brief interventions, and opioid substitution therapy, while two ‘bite-size’ pieces highlight the importance of outreach to groups with different life circumstances and patterns of substance use.

Choose analyses to view by scrolling down and clicking the blue titles.
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From England, signs that tighter licensing policies have reduced serious alcohol-related harm
Compared to 86 local areas with unchanged policies, five areas taking a hands-on approach to enforcement saw reductions in violent and sexual crimes and alcohol-related hospital admissions. Are these changes indicative of a meaningful change in the drinking environment brought about by tighter licensing regimens?

Could low income areas experience the greatest health benefits of a minimum pricing policy?
Increases in the minimum price of alcoholic beverages in a Canadian province between 2002 and 2013 set the stage for a ‘real-world’ study of minimum unit pricing. Reductions in alcohol-related hospital admissions, particularly in lower income areas, tentatively supported the conclusion that minimum unit pricing would have a greater impact in regions with a low level of average family income, among which there tends to be a greater burden of alcohol-related harm.

Review finds that brief alcohol advice in relatively normal primary care practice reduces drinking
Update of a key document forming the basis of claims that brief interventions work in ‘real-world’ settings. Combined findings from randomised trials confirm that brief advice in primary care can reduce drinking; now the issue is whether in normal practice those benefits will be realised on a grand enough scale to create public health gains.

Unique trial tested what emergency doctors should do when screening identifies opioid dependence
A US emergency department tried three ways of responding to opioid dependence. Referral and brief advice may have helped, but best of all at promoting treatment and curbing opioid use was actually initiating treatment in the department in the form of buprenorphine maintenance.

What do we know about reducing alcohol-related harm among gay and bisexual men?
This review focuses on a cohort disproportionately burdened by ill health, yet often overlooked as subjects of substance use research and in the provision of healthcare. With an ‘alarmingly scarce’ evidence base to go on, the researchers draw parallels with the broader alcohol treatment literature, and suggest progress could be made with attention to specific theories of problem drinking for sexual minority groups.

Substance use a major factor in women’s (re)offending
Though female offenders tend to have different reasons for drug use, drug use patterns, life circumstances, and parental responsibilities than men, treatment approaches have largely been developed from studies of treatment for incarcerated men and non-offending women in the general community. Responding to this, the featured review identifies the treatment needs of female offenders with substance use problems and what effective gender-specific interventions look like.

REVISED Making drug courts more effective and more cost-effective
From an impressively coherent and persistent series of studies of how US courts specialising in supervision and treatment of drug-related offenders can do more to reduce drug use and crime and conserve resources, this study finds that triaging offenders to more or less intensive programmes and then adjusting based on actual progress makes a significant difference. Results now supplemented with longer term findings.

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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 Alcohol Research UK and the Society for the Study of Addiction and advised by the National Addiction Centre.