The SSA’s new treatment pages are designed to help everyone access both basic and in-depth information on key topics in addiction. Rob Calder introduces what the web team have been working on.

One of my first challenges (and headaches) as SSA website editor was the huge amounts of information that has accumulated on the SSA website. A lot of it was, and still is, very well hidden (which is not ideal for a website).

Since I started, I have tried to work out how to arrange the website to address this problem. The website team and I have considered and discounted several solutions including multiple search terms, filters on filters, endless scrolling, librarian robots, animated paperclips, a Royal Mail delivery service, and finally re-categorising the whole of addiction science. I guess there’s something to be said for iterating from wildly impractical starting points.

The solution that we ended up on, and are very excited about, was to create a series of ‘landing pages’ for key concepts in addiction. The main purpose of these pages is to give the reader the basic information about, say, contingency management, needle exchange or minimum unit pricing, and provide further reading for those who want to know more.

“Sometimes it’s easier to find the syntax code for a complex statistical analysis than it is to find a straight-forward explanation. We hope to address this imbalance.”

These landing pages will serve many purposes. First, they will help you if you have just momentarily forgotten something and want a quick and simple explanation for that meeting or key working session you forgot about, but that has become very real and that will start in about 5 minutes. Second, they will provide a core page for experts in that area to refer back to for the latest interviews, lectures and discussion points.

As a Society interested in dissemination, we will also provide simple guides on how to deliver things. Hence our “What is…”, and “How to…” themes. Each page will have five tabs:

1.  What is…

This will cover the basics. I have found myself, on numerous occasions, chasing round the internet looking for a basic explanation of what something actually is. Sometimes it’s easier to find the syntax code for a complex statistical analysis than it is to find a straight-forward explanation. We hope to address this imbalance.

2.  How to…

For people working in treatment services, this is often key. It is also often overlooked in research settings. What expertise, information, resources, training and qualifications do you need in place before you provide this treatment? How might you go about implementing this as a policy? When do you provide it? How long for? In what setting?

3.  Is it effective?

The SSA is always focused on the evidence base. We will provide information on interventions alongside evidence on their effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness).

4.  Equality and diversity considerations

Equality and diversity considerations run through addiction treatment and research. From the diversity of study populations to the applicability of treatments to marginalised and vulnerable people. We will outline the key points here.

5.  Where can I read more?

Everyone loves a good book. We’ll put a mix of basic reading, books, policies, and academic articles here. Something for people new to the subject as well as those who want to stay up all night reading systematic reviews and meta-analyses (you know who you are).

Introducing what we’ve been working on…

In the past couple of months, we quietly published treatment pages on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), drug safety testing, and drug consumption rooms while we ironed out some ‘bugs’ behind the scenes. This week we’re launching further treatment pages on 12-step programmes, naloxone, and needle and syringe programmes. So, that’s six new landing pages so far.

As we publish more, you will notice that our Knowledge Hub (a glorious invention that has become somewhat untended and over-grown in recent years) will change to put our new treatment policy and research resources in a central place on the SSA website.

As ever, please get in touch if you would like to know more.

by Rob Calder

The opinions expressed in this post reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official positions of the SSA.

The SSA does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information in external sources or links and accepts no responsibility or liability for any consequences arising from the use of such information.


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