Evaluation of Mutual Aid in Substance Misuse

Therapeutic Solutions (Addictions) were commissioned by the Matthew Project in Norfolk to understand the drivers of mutual aid within substance misuse treatment. 35 individuals were recruited by the Matthew Project to engage in either one of the two projects (an individual could access more than one intervention) and participants’ baseline scores were determined through a composite Treatment Outcome Profile (TOP) and Outcome Star (OS) measure. Differences in a range of outcome measures based on the TOP and OS were calculated using a paired-sample t-test to test for statistical significance. Alongside this statistical analysis service users were recruited by the Matthew Project for an in-depth focus group exploration of views and perceptions. Key findings included:

  • The study found statistically significant improvements in outcomes among this sample of service users who engaged with Intuitive and/or SMART Recovery projects across a range of domains held on TOP and OS including (a) alcohol consumption; (b) psychological/quality of life; (c) physical health; (d) use of time; (e) social networks; and (f) finance
  • Service users interviewed were positive about their experience with both groups and in particular the ability “to take something” from each intervention rather than absolute fidelity to a single approach or philosophy

Recovery Services

We have offered a range of services to support the development of recovery services across the substance misuse sector including a number of reports and academic peer-reviewed papers. We have a paper written in partnership with Birmingham University on influences to 12-Step mutual self-help groups published in the European Addiction Research in September 2014.

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Our Services

We have developed a range of analytical and methodological approaches aimed at understanding the health and substance misuse needs of individuals including extensive interviews with a cross-section of service users in contact with healthcare and other related services. We have also worked to develop methods aimed at understanding the nuances of prisoner satisfaction of clinical services received. Our paper testing use of SERVQUAL as a mechanism for understanding ‘real’ satisfaction rates has been published here.

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Studies and Assessments

We have undertaken over 50 health and substance misuse specific needs assessments since 2006. These have included studies across community settings and across the criminal justice system (including detainee needs in police custody; service users in contact with Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and prisoners in contact with health services in secure settings).

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