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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Latest Findings alcohol bulletins: teaching teenagers 'safe drinking'; IBA in college settings; lessons for treatment; benzos still best for withdrawal

Recent bulletins from the Drug and Alcohol Findings, supporting evidence-based responses to substance misuse drug and alcohol bank:

Should we teach teenagers to drink more safely?
Official guidance for England supports 'safer drinking' lessons for teenagers, based partly on the results of an Australian curriculum, but it was unclear whether its approach and results would transfer to the UK. Now this study from Northern Ireland has confirmed that in the UK too the lessons curb the growth in alcohol-related problems and also mean pupils drink less.

College health clinics can do mass alcohol screening and brief advice
College health clinics can themselves implement widespread screening and brief alcohol advice is one conclusion of this first large-scale test conducted at five North American universities. The other main conclusion - that by doing so they make worthwhile reductions in drinking and related harm - is weakened by the small size of the impacts.
Can therapists be too good?
Rarely has counselling been so deeply analysed as in this US study of mainly alcohol and cocaine dependent patients. The far-reaching implications are that some counsellors generate relationships with clients which feed through to better outcomes – but also that the 'best' relationship builders are not on average the most effective.

Leaders and service ethos set context for training to affect treatment practice
Message from this large US study is that 'bottom-up' practice improvements in treatment services initiated by counsellors are still strongly influenced by the climate-setting and support offered by an organisation's leadership and ethos, especially how far they foster professional development.

Anticonvulsants yet to better benzodiazepines for alcohol withdrawal
Drawbacks of the favoured benzodiazepine drugs used to ameliorate alcohol withdrawal have led to trials of anticonvulsants, but this German trial found one promising anticonvulsant effective only among less severe cases – and some patients seemingly doing well later developed seizures, one of the most severe consequences of alcohol withdrawal.