Effectiveness Bank bulletin 28 January 2013

Latest additions to the Effectiveness Bank are an international mixture ranging from brief interventions in England to in Iran the heavy end of treatment using anaesthesia to rapidly withdraw opiate addicts, then back to the UK for a call for smoking equipment to supplement the provision of injecting equipment, and to Australia and Germany for the results of raising taxes on sweetened alcoholic drinks (alcopops) designed to appeal to the young.

First major report from crucial English alcohol screening and brief intervention trials
First major formal account of findings from the SIPS trials reports no benefits from adding 20 minutes of theory-based counselling to a few sentences warning primary care patients they are drinking too much. 'Do just the minimum' is the message commissioners might take from the studies, but that would be to over-read their implications.
Also available are preliminary analyses of the SIPS trials in emergency departments and probation offices

Rapid withdrawal and opiate-blockers work for Iranian addicts
Further evidence from Iran that rapid withdrawal under anaesthesia followed by the opiate-blocking drug naltrexone can work for highly motivated opiate addicts with copious 'recovery capital'. For others this expensive and, when not adequately controlled, potentially risky procedure generally ends in overdose-threatening relapse.

Give injectors foil to promote smoking instead say UK advisers
The evidence which led UK government drug policy advisers to call for legalisation of the supply of foil by medical and drug services to drug users to promote transition from injecting heroin or crack to the much safer smoking route.

No youth health benefits after alcopops tax hike in Australia
A tax rise on alcopops was on the agenda in Britain until they fell out of favour among young drinkers, but Australia did increase tax by a huge 70%. There was no impact on short-term alcohol-related harm among the young revellers of its Gold Coast district, but probably broader benefits from reduced drinking.

Switching erodes impact of doubling alcopops price in Germany
Concern that alcopops seduced adolescents to start drinking more and sooner led Germany to impose a tax rise nearly doubling their price. It dented consumption among teenage drinkers, but switching to spirits and other products eroded the overall drop in alcohol consumption.

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.