Effectiveness Bank web site March 2020
Supported by    Society for the Study of Addiction web site   Alcohol Change UK web site
IWD_2020_square_logo International Women’s Day 2020

Three years ago Drug and Alcohol Findings launched a new collection in honour of International Women’s Day. This ‘mini-library’ showcases studies in the Effectiveness Bank catalogue that further our understanding of how sex and gender can influence the course of addiction and treatment, with a particular focus on women.

To visit the International Women’s Day collection, click the button below.

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Entries published in the past year
‘We have to put out the fire before we rebuild the house’
How can ‘trauma-informed’ care move from being a value or philosophy held by select practitioners to an organisational framework for delivering treatment and support? Practitioners in England discuss, drawing on their experiences of working with women who frequently report substance use problems alongside histories of trauma and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

‘Going off script’: screening and brief advice in Scottish antenatal care
Highly skilled and practiced at having difficult conversations, midwives play an important role in screening for and giving brief advice about drinking alcohol in pregnancy. Based on the Scottish antenatal experience, are midwives following the standardised approach, and how important is it that they do?

Stabilising opioid-dependent pregnant women with substitute drugs
The consensus is that pregnant women are better served by opioid substitution therapies than continued illicit drug use or supervised withdrawal from drugs. Buprenorphine has different properties to the dominant substitute methadone, but could it be considered an equally safe and effective treatment?

‘How have infertility treatments affected your drinking?’
Problems with fertility can be caused or exacerbated by substance use, and in the reverse direction, women can lean on drinking and drug use to cope with the emotional and physical toll of infertility treatment. Enquiring about drug and alcohol problems may be an ‘ethical and medical duty’ for reproductive specialists, but can screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment be successfully integrated into their routine practice?

Improving recovery prospects for women in prison
Baroness Jean Corston called for a “distinct, radically different, visibly-led, strategic, proportionate, holistic, woman-centred, integrated approach” for vulnerable female offenders. This study asks whether drug recovery wings in two English women’s prisons delivered on these ambitions, and if not what was missing for them to provide an optimal space for recovery and foster the continuous care pathway women need?

Further resources
Outside of the Effectiveness Bank there are many articles, essays, books, podcasts, online lectures, and films related to drugs and alcohol that focus on women – as researchers, writers, practitioners, advocates, and people with lived experience. Just a few examples are shown below. What will you be reading, watching, and listening to this March as we mark International Women’s Day 2020?

READING Why do we need a trauma-informed response to women’s drinking problems? The Alcohol Change UK blog makes the argument, writing that “Despite the clear links between trauma and addiction many services fail to take women’s experiences of violence and abuse into account”.

WATCHING Dr Sharon Cox of London South Bank University and Dr Sally Marlow of King’s College London have made a series of short films highlighting the stories of women who have contributed to the field of addiction. Watch these now on the Society for the Study of Addiction website.

LISTENING A BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour series called The Fix offers a more intimate look at drug and alcohol problems, inviting women to explore topics such as the relationship between substance use problems and eating disorders and how unhealthy relationships impacted their dependence.

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The Drug and Alcohol Findings Effectiveness Bank offers a free mailing list service updating subscribers to UK-relevant evaluations of drug/alcohol interventions. Findings is supported by the Society for the Study of Addiction and Alcohol Change UK, and advised by the National Addiction Centre.