Effectiveness Bank bulletin 24 August 2013

First two additions to the Effectiveness Bank are for the treatment and criminal justice specialists, next two for prevention specialists, but the issues are of more general concern. Are we forgetting perhaps the biggest killer of all, tobacco, in our focus on illegal drugs? Can it do more than harm than good to throw the treatment net wider across the criminal justice system? And what of teenage substance use: is asking education to double as prevention unrealistic; would we do better to focus one-to-one on those really in need of a preventive intervention?

The alcohol and drug treatment matrices: "The documents you should read if you read nothing else".
Alcohol matrix for alcohol brief interventions and treatment
Drug matrix for harm reduction and treatment in relation to illegal drugs

Time to stop smoking-related as well as drug deaths among methadone patients?
The understandable fear is that the attempt to overcome one addiction (to smoking) will rob methadone patients of the strength to overcome the addiction (to opiates) more immediately threatening their survival, but transfer of responsibility for monitoring and promoting addiction treatment to Public Health England seems likely to place smoking cessation higher up the agenda. The US studies reported in this article have paved the way, showing that at least initial non-smoking can be achieved via incentives. A diversion from the main task, or a worthwhile re-allocation of resources?

Pros and cons of Scotland's offender treatment initiatives
In one expert package, the recent history, results, achievements and possible drawbacks of Scotland’s concerted attempt to engage drug-driven offenders in treatment at nearly every stage of the criminal justice system. Widening treatment access may have been the main plus, also widening entanglement in the criminal justice system the main minus.

'Proven' drug education programmes falter in real-world trials
It's happened again. Taken out of the laboratory of a highly controlled trial, a 'proven', 'evidence-based' and officially recommended drug education curriculum has not lived up to its promise when implemented more widely across usual schools, teachers and pupils and with more typical levels of training and support. For Project TND though, the possibly important exception was in respect of 'hard' drugs, where it has had its most consistent impacts.

Brief counselling helps school pupils caught with drugs
Aged 16 and smoking cannabis or drinking coming up to one day in three, US youngsters identified as substance users by their schools substantially cut back in response to just two motivational counselling sessions, and even more when a third session addressed the parents at home. Study offers a potentially fruitful way to respond to drug use incidents at school.

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.