After the disappointment of the English Blueprint trial come results from a seven-nation drug education trial. EU-Dap probably registered some real successes, but these were few and small and may have been artefacts of the implementation and analysis of the study.
Better than treatment as usual but not than other specific therapies are the headlines from the most comprehensive synthesis of motivational interviewing studies to date. Along the way are insights in to the equivocal value of manuals and of feeding back assessment results to patients.
Binge drinkers among young Swiss men being conscripted in to the army responded to around 16 minutes of alcohol advice by on average cutting their intake 20% more than recruits whose drinking was simply assessed, a rare demonstration of the impact of a brief intervention in an unselected population.
In this Dutch study, promoting parental rule setting and classroom alcohol education together nearly halved the proportion of adolescents who went on to drink heavily. Rarely have such strong and sustained drinking prevention impacts been recorded from these types of interventions.
The largest European drug education trial ever conducted tested whether US-style social influence programmes would prove effective in Europe. Among the successes were the reductions in problem drinking documented in this report.
For what seems the first time, this analysis combined results from relevant studies to test whether low tax/price levels on alcohol result in poorer health and higher death rates. It found the expected relationships, but based on only the partial accounting of the harms and benefits of drinking found in most studies.
All this British study did was ask people out shopping, working or relaxing to complete a brief written survey about their drinking which ended with an injunction to make concrete plans to drink safely. Too simple to work?
Data from the largest alcohol treatment trial in Britain is used to address possibly the most contentious issue in the field – whether services should offer moderation as well as abstinence goals to dependent clients.
High on the UK pre-election policy agenda, alcohol tax rises have now been reviewed and accepted by a national US panel of experts as a major public health measure to curb excessive alcohol use and related harms.