Applying theory to practice

Having good evidence enables practitioners to develop and implement effective interventions. Effective prevention, treatment and recovery support interventions informed by strong research evidence consistently result in positive gains for individuals. 

Interventions should be supported by high quality research evidence and undertaken within a national and/or international framework of ethical and effective principles to guide all aspects of the work. 

This principle is key to promoting effective practice within the field of drug demand reduction. However, the transfer of theory into practice and applying research into practical action is an ongoing challenge and integrating evidence into different aspects of an intervention is rarely a straightforward process.

Access to evidence is not always easy and obtaining the data is often followed by the additional challenge of comprehending it. Many find it difficult not only to access and understand the research but also face a dilemma of how to implement what might be sound theory into the context of the realities they face in applying the research into their practice. 

Lack of capacity and motivation to use evidence can be particularly problematic. Structures may exist for the uptake of research evidence by practitioners but they may not be systematised or functioning in a coordinated or strategic manner. The very concepts of "evidence-informed" and "evidence-based" might be hazily understood and implementation can be hampered by lack of capacity or a lack of access to research intermediaries.

Researchers, on the other hand, will often admit that their outcomes and recommendations have been attained through undertaking their work in “greenhouse conditions” which make the transfer into practice very difficult.

On the 8th, 9th and 10th of December 2021, ISSUP is hosting a three-day virtual conference that will focus specifically on deepening the understanding of what is meant by “evidence-based” and considers how the research on what constitutes an evidence-based approach can be transferred to the domain of practical application. 

The conference will identify some of the key evidence-based findings for drug demand reduction in the areas of prevention, treatment, and recovery support. It will then seek to illustrate how they have been translated into practice from specific country examples. 

We welcome anyone working in the field of drug demand reduction within the international arena. The event will have particular relevance to health professionals working at the research and practice levels.

For further information on the conference programme and how to register, please visit the event page: ISSUP International Conference 2021 (Virtual)