Jose Luis Vazquez Martinez
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Friday, June 4, 2021, 08:00 ET (Washington, DC time) / 14:00 CET (Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna time)

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Jose Luis Vazquez Martinez

Watch the video of the research presentations on alcohol-related violence and deprivation by Lucy Bryant (Institute of Alcohol Studies, IAS) and Dr Carly Lightowlers (University of Liverpool), delivered at the SHAAP/SARN 'Alcohol Occasionals' webinar held over Zoom on 30 March 2021.


Jose Luis Vazquez Martinez

Watch the video of the research presentation “Understanding drinking transitions during lockdown: social inequalities, alcohol, and the COVID-19 pandemic” by Dr. Emily Nicholls (University of York), delivered at the SHAAP/SARN 'Alcohol Occasionals' webinar held over Zoom on 28 April 2021.

Natural Recovery by the Liver and Other Organs After Chronic Alcohol Use


Chronic, heavy alcohol consumption disrupts normal organ function and causes structural damage in virtually every tissue of the body. Current diagnostic terminology states that a person who drinks alcohol excessively has alcohol use disorder. The liver is especially susceptible to alcohol-induced damage. This review summarizes and describes the effects of chronic alcohol use not only on the liver, but also on other selected organs and systems affected by continual heavy drinking—including the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, heart, and bone. Most significantly, the recovery process after cessation of alcohol consumption (abstinence) is explored. Depending on the organ and whether there is relapse, functional recovery is possible. Even after years of heavy alcohol use, the liver has a remarkable regenerative capacity and, following alcohol removal, can recover a significant portion of its original mass and function. Other organs show recovery after abstinence as well. Data on studies of both heavy alcohol use among humans and animal models of chronic ethanol feeding are discussed. This review describes how (or whether) each organ/tissue metabolizes ethanol, as metabolism influences the organ’s degree of injury. Damage sustained by the organ/tissue is reviewed, and evidence for recovery during abstinence is presented. 

Making the European Region Safer: Developments in Alcohol Control Policies, 2010–2019

This report presents the current status of alcohol consumption, alcohol-attributable harms and the implementation of alcohol control policies in the WHO European Region, using available data from 2010, 2016 and 2019.

A detailed overview is provided of the implementation of alcohol policies described in the 10 action areas of the European Action Plan to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol 2012–2020 (EAPA), including the current status of implementation of the five action areas of the WHO-led SAFER initiative:

  1. Strengthen restrictions on alcohol availability;
  2. Advance and enforce drink–driving countermeasures;
  3. Facilitate access to screening, brief interventions and treatment;
  4. Enforce bans or comprehensive restrictions on alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotion; and
  5. Raise prices on alcohol through excise taxes and pricing policies.

Finally, the report analyses progress in policy implementation in the period 2016–2019, using the WHO alcohol policy composite indicators, which were developed to measure alcohol policy implementation in the 10 EAPA action areas.

Reducing Harm Due to Alcohol: Success Stories From 3 Countries

The European Region has the highest level of alcohol consumption in the world.

To reduce these harms, WHO/Europe has identified three affordable, feasible and cost-effective intervention strategies:

  • increase excise taxes on alcoholic beverages
  • introduce and enforce bans or clear restrictions on exposure to alcohol advertising
  • enact and enforce restrictions on the physical availability of retailed alcohol.

Here you can read about the successful outcomes in Lithuania, Scotland and the Russian Federation.

Women and Alcohol

This is a special edition of the Journal Alcohol Research: Current Reviews. It is open source and has new articles on women and alcohol use.

Jose Luis Vazquez Martinez



Alcohol: A Public Health Issue

The Journal of Public Health has put together a selection of papers that highlights some of the most cited alcohol-related research published in the Journal of Public Health in recent years.

The collection starts with articles examining local and national alcohol policies, including those involving partnerships with the alcohol industry. The political influence of commercial actors, and their strategic use of corporate social responsibility, pose research questions that have the potential to inform the development of policy agendas.

Research focusing on relationships between alcohol use and cognitive decline, life satisfaction, and physical activity is also featured. 

You can access the collection, which is free to access up until the 4th of July 2021, here.

Jose Luis Vazquez Martinez


Effectiveness Bank Course on Alcohol Treatment Research Reaches its Conclusion


Time to recap the journey started over a year ago to update the Alcohol Treatment Matrix, a unique mapping of seminal and key research and guidance on alcohol brief interventions and different treatment domains, from the interventions through to whole treatment systems. Along the way we encountered research which set new directions, challenged orthodoxy, and confirmed or confounded ‘common sense’. We are immensely grateful to Alcohol Change UK for their funding and support. All the instalments remain available for you to dip in to by clicking on cells in the matrix or choosing a row to focus on from the list below.

See the whole matrix at:
go to your chosen row below.



Key research testing a core public health strategy – screening and brief intervention. Part prevention, part treatment, these programmes identify risky drinkers at locations such as GPs’ surgeries and emergency departments and then deliver brief advice to reduce risk. Do they work well enough – and can they be implemented widely enough – to reduce alcohol-related harm across a population?


Explores elements shared by effective treatments. Driven by the ‘negative’ findings of what should have been a groundbreaking US trial, a pivotal moment was the (re)recognition that interventions work partly because their cultural fit bequeaths them this power. If this makes treatment seem little more than a placebo, try reframing that, and seeing the ‘placebo effect’ as the major active ingredient.


The centrality of medications most clearly marks an intervention as medical, but for this ‘disease’, medications do not have reliable, mechanical effects. The evidence challenges us to place drugs in the context of the practitioners delivering them, managements and organisations which shape the therapeutic environment, and the local treatment system’s preparatory, supportive and follow-on care.


Psychosocial or ‘talking’ therapies - the mainstay of alcohol treatment, in which human interaction is intended to be the main active ingredient. Are effective therapies really all the same ‘under the bonnet’, and what do we know now about the validity of Carl Rogers’ classic account of the prerequisites of effective therapy?


Final row defocused from the patient to ask what treatment can do for the rest of us by reducing crime and safeguarding families and communities. Core theme was the playing out of the contradictions between segregation and reintegration, care and control.


“Absolutely brilliant site and service which I use almost every day in my work (research, education and clinical practice). Recommend matrices to everyone!”
Dr Anne Whittaker, Senior Lecturer/Reader, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland and Substance Misuse Directorate, NHS Lothian, Scotland


Alcohol Treatment Matrix
Drug Treatment Matrix
About the matrices


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Findings is supported by the Society for the Study of Addiction and Alcohol Change UK.

Why is the record so poor? Highlight from Effectiveness Bank Alcohol Treatment Matrix row 5

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The first cell of row 5 presented a catalogue of negative evaluations of attempts to treat problem drinking among sentenced offenders in Britain, a record also seen internationally. Much of the row effectively sought answers to the core question, ‘Why is the record so poor?’

To go direct to the featured section click the link below or paste it in to your web browser address box, being sure to enter the whole address:


“Just read your paper [Alcohol Treatment Matrix cell C5], and predictably, it has blown my mind! Thanks for getting me thinking – again!”
Renato Masetti, Training Co-ordinator, Health Outreach, North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, England


Alcohol Treatment Matrix

Drug Treatment Matrix

About the matrices:


Sent by Drug and Alcohol Findings via a third party mailing list to alert you to site updates and recent UK-relevant evaluations and reviews of drug/alcohol interventions. Refresh of the Alcohol Treatment Matrix is funded by Alcohol Change UK. Findings is also supported by the Society for the Study of Addiction, and advised by the National Addiction Centre.