Alcohol misuse is a major cause of premature mortality and ill-health, with Europe having the highest number of alcohol related disabilities in the world and alcohol accounting for approximately 1.8 million deaths. Although there is a high prevalence of alcohol problems among patients presenting to general hospital, many people with these issues are unaware they have a problem, hence they do not directly seek treatment for alcohol problems. Providing specialist treatment for problem drinkers can reduce healthcare utilisation and cost to the public sector as well as resulting in substantial individual health and social benefits. Establishing how these drinkers can be identified in general hospital settings in a cost effective manner that is acceptable to both staff and patients is an important issue. Likewise, around 4 million people use illicit drugs each year in the UK and a large number of hospital admissions each year are with a primary or secondary diagnosis of drug misuse. Local data from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has indicated that during 2009/2010, of the 48060 individuals admitted, 6.6% had a diagnosis that was wholly attributable to alcohol or illicit drugs.
The Addiction Research in Acute Settings (ARiAS) research programme is funded from the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC) for Leeds, York and Bradford, which is a partnership between the NHS, social care and academia. The project runs from 1 October 2008 - 31 December 2013.
The aim of the programme
The overall aim of the ARiAS research programme is to investigate methods of improving the physical and mental health of people with alcohol and/or illicit drug problems who are identified within an acute hospital setting.
The programme of work is divided into two phases. Phase 1 includes: literature reviews; exploring hospital level patterns of admissions; qualitative studies; and providing hospital staff training sessions. Building on the findings from this first phase and using the best available knowledge, the second work stream consists of a pilot randomised controlled trial with problem drinkers to explore which interventions could be cost effectively and routinely put in place in an acute setting.
The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the research team and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.