Developing new research on alcohol harm: rapid evidence reviews

July 2019 | 5 minutes

We’re pleased to publish the first in a series of six rapid evidence reviews that were commissioned by us earlier this year, looking into priority areas in the field of alcohol harm reduction.

Alcohol harm is complex and wide-ranging and the solutions are far from simple. It can affect any one of us, from any walk of life.

Heavy and dependent drinking can have devastating effects not only on the individual but on our families, communities and society too. Every year in the UK, alcohol harm leads to thousands of lives lost, and over a million more damaged. This includes around 200,000 children who are living with an alcohol-dependent parent or carer which can have a lifelong impact on their health and well-being.

The more we all know about alcohol harm, the better we can reduce it. We want alcohol-related policy and practice to be developed on the basis of robust research evidence and new ideas about harm reduction. As part of our work on this, we’re pleased to publish the first in a series of six rapid evidence reviews that were commissioned by us earlier this year, looking into priority areas in the field of alcohol harm reduction.

As their name suggests, the aim of these reviews was to produce a speedy but rigorous examination of the latest evidence concerning a selection of alcohol-related topics, to improve knowledge and help inform our research activities going forward.

The research teams who undertook the reviews have significant experience and expertise in the field which has led to a number of interesting and insightful findings. The researchers are from the following institutions: University of Sheffield, Liverpool John Moores University, Middlesex University, University of York, University of Edinburgh, and Queen's University Belfast.

The topics in question were selected through stakeholder engagement and consultation, as well as ‘horizon-scanning’ the research, policy and practice environment, to identify where particular gaps occur.

The topics covered are:

We hope that these reviews will allow those working in the substance misuse field -researchers, fellow charities, practitioners, policy-makers - as well the public -to gain a clearer idea of what is known, and what is yet to be understood, in these important areas. They form part of our commitment to stimulate and support innovative research to better understand alcohol harm and ways to address it.

Look out for the remaining reviews, which will be published on our website over the next few weeks.

The reviews

The full set of reviews have now been published and are available here.