Effectiveness Bank bulletin 21 January 2015

Judged by ‘successful’ completions, three official reports tell a tale of improving alcohol, drug and youth substance use treatment systems in England, albeit with the alcohol caseload going up, the drug one down – but for how long? In Scotland alcohol-related death rates have fallen by a third since 2003 but remain almost twice those in England and Wales; without the national strategy, it might have been worse.

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Record alcohol treatment numbers in England still not enough
In England a record 114,920 adults were in specialist alcohol treatment in 2013/14, but probably most who might have benefited from treatment did without it. Why the gap?

2013 could have been a turning point for drug treatment in England
Public Health England cautions that recent gains in reduced drug use, fewer heroin and crack addicts, improved treatment performance, and curbing drug-related harm, have stalled or reversed. A blip, or the start of trends up in problem drug use and down in the treatment system’s ability to cope?

Youth treatment in England improving but contracting
Judged by ‘successful’ completions, official report documents improved treatment of children with alcohol and drug problems in England. In line with general population trends, patient numbers have fallen - but do falling numbers also reflect contracting services?

Scotland’s alcohol strategy judged partly successful
Official assessment of Scotland’s alcohol strategy says the ban on ‘buy more, pay less’ discounts and the brief interventions drive may have steepened recent declines in drinking and related ill-health. However, the alcohol-related death rate remains almost twice that in England and Wales.

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