Effectiveness Bank bulletin 21 January 2014

Studies on naloxone for overdose prevention, brief alcohol interventions, private versus public alcohol treatment provision, and whether parents should introduce their underage children to alcohol. Plus updated entries on the UK expert group report on methadone as a recovery aid and 2012/13 statistics on drug treatment in England.

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More naloxone needed to cut opiate overdose deaths
The UK’s official drugs law and policy advisory body recommends that alongside training, the opiate-blocker naloxone be made more widely and easily available to enable drug users and those who work and associate with them to prevent opiate overdose deaths.

Brief alcohol advice might help with emergency department overload
Screening for risky drinking and offering brief advice can (but not always) reduce later emergency department visits was the main finding of this review, suggesting these programmes might ease pressure on overloaded departments.

‘Empathy gap’ in private alcohol treatment, poor NHS systems?
This small English study poses fundamental questions about alcohol treatment services: whether private services suffer from an ‘empathy gap’ and NHS services from poor systems; whether opening up treatment choice to patients with a record of bad decision-making is a good thing; and whether there can be universal criteria for what counts as quality provision.

Should parents introduce their underage children to drink?
... and if they do, is it important they supervise its consumption? Opinions and guidelines differ, as do research findings. For the first time this review focuses on the evidence. Interest centres on two follow-up studies with seemingly contradictory findings. Perhaps in a complex way, it all depends on the context.

Crucial UK report aims to rehabilitate methadone as a recovery tool
Updated with supplementary advice on treatment reviews
On behalf of the UK government an expert group has developed a clinical consensus on how prescribing-based treatment for heroin addiction can be made more recovery-oriented. It could make the difference between a dramatic rowing back in patient numbers and permitted treatment durations, or a re-orientation which preserves the best from the past yet improves outcomes.

Fewer patients but improving treatment outcomes in England
Revised after comments from the authors
Agency responsible for promoting addiction treatment in England argues that efforts to put recovery at its heart are paying off in the form of patients successfully completing treatment and not having to return. One concern: is treatment being de-individualised to generate a ‘good news’ story?

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.