Interpreting outcomes data for the purpose of implementing research in practice

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

The Swedish experience of implementing research in practice is based on three reports. The first one was published in 2001 (revised English version 2003) and named “Treatment of drug and alcohol abuse. An evidence-based review.” The second was published in 2007 with the title “National guidelines for treatment of substance use disorders. The third will be published in November 2010 and is titled the “The Commission on treatment on substance use disorders”. The Commission will define responsibilities for the state, hospitals and social services for treatment of substance use disorders including coercive care and present outlines for a new integrated legal system for abuse of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescribed drugs and anabolic steroids.

The results of the systematic reviews and meta-analyses in 2001 have been used for formulating guidelines in 2007 and also to legally support the right of patients to receive evidence-based treatment in 2010. The use of outcome data in treatments with large effect sizes (as agonist treatment in heroin addiction) and small effect sizes (as pharmacological treatment of alcohol dependence) will be presented and discussed. The role of coercive care in the Swedish treatment system will be illustrated from an evidence-based perspective. The Syringe Exchange programme has been very controversial in Sweden and at present there are only two programmes, both in the southern part of Sweden.

In conclusion implementation of evidence-based methods for substance use treatment has generally been regarded as an important progress in the field.


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Professor Mats Berglund