Dr Stefano Casalotti

I obtained my PhD from Imperial College London. My thesis was a study of the molecular structure of the GABA-A receptor. I moved to Georgetown University (USA) where I carried out molecular work on the NMDA receptor and cloniing of pthe periheral benzodiazepine receptor. At Mahidol University (thailand) I lead on molecular research on amphetamines derivatives and opioid drugs. At UCL I joined the Ear Institute and focussed on the role of connexins and of the opioid receptors in hearing function. Currently at Univesristy of East London we are investigating  the mecahnisms of alcohol addiciton in a fruit fly model

Users’ perspectives of the effectiveness of a peer-led community based alcohol support service

Aim: To evaluate, from the users’ perspective, the alcohol and drug service: ‘Build on Belief’ (BoB).

Design: Semi-structured open-ended interviews were carried out with service users and volunteers. In this student-centred project, the interview schedule worked as a general guide, but the interviews were led by the experiences of the participants.

Setting: BoB offers safe space for individuals with problematic use of alcohol and other drugs. Participants voluntarily visit the centre and can join in social activities. There is no requirement for abstinence, but attendees must not be under the influence on BoB premises. BoB works on a peer-led based model where users can progress into becoming volunteers for the service. Interviews (ca. 30 min each) were carried out in private rooms.

Participants: The 12 interviewees (aged 35-55, two females, five volunteers) were conveniently selected on the days BoB was visited.

Measurements: Semi-structured interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed

Findings and conclusions: The effect of BoB were classified as Relational, Spatial and Temporal. Users and volunteers valued the sense of safety and the personal comfort of interacting with other people with similar problems in an environment that did not compel them with specific abstinence protocols. Nonetheless, several participants mentioned that attending BoB allowed them to reduce their alcohol intake. The initial findings of the investigation suggest that BoB can have a beneficial effect on service users and volunteers. Further analysis and comparisons with other organisations could lead to further enhancement of services.


Dr Kirsty Soars, University of East London; Dr Zetta Kougiali, University of East London; Ms Jade Brown, University of East London; Ms Charelle Clarke, University of East London; Ms Freda Nsumba, University of East London; Ms Emma Oliva, University of East London; Ms Sara Osunsanya, University of East London; Ms Alicja Pytlik, University of East London; Ms Tamar Wilkin, University of East London; Ms Katarzyna Wozniak, University of East London; Dr Stefano Casalotti, University of East London; Dr Barbara Pendry, University of East London

Conflicts of interest:

No conflict of interest

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