Effectiveness Bank bulletin 26 March 2013

The proportion of dependence-free, non-returning treatment completers is one of the few substance use-specific indicators in the new English public health framework. Next three entries raise important questions about the treatment effort: should we do more to involve families; are substances really the core problem for troubled substance using youngsters; and can straightforward educational approaches do as well as sophisticated and more costly therapies?

New public health objectives for England including drugs and alcohol
Sets out the structure and objectives of the public health system for England effective from April 2013 and how progress against these objectives will be measured, including addiction treatment completions, alcohol-related hospital admissions, and prisoners identified as needing treatment for alcohol/drug problems.

Engaging partners in treatment aids patient and family
Review confirms that problem drinkers and drug users in a persisting if distressed relationship with a partner do better when the focus is at least partly shifted from the patient to working with the couple to foster sobriety-encouraging interactions. Benefits for patients and the broader society can be remarkable, but not always, and few evaluations have been done by independent analysts who did not develop the therapies.

Gains fade from specialist youth therapeutic community
The question posed by this US study of whether initial benefits from a youth therapeutic community specialising in substance use would persist, snowball or erode, was decisively answered. By early adulthood, all had eroded; over the longer term, youngsters sent to non-specialist group homes had done just as well.

Nurse-led hepatitis education cost-effective way to curb drinking in methadone patients
At Californian methadone clinics, group education sessions led by a nurse and focused on the risks of aggravating hepatitis infection led to the same substantial reductions in drinking as one-to-one or group motivational interviewing conducted by highly trained counsellors, offering a cost-effective means to reduce alcohol-related risks.

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.