Evidence and outcomes resources: Substance use and addiction

We have sourced some helpful links for organisations working with people with substance use and addiction issues. You may find these useful in planning and carrying out your outcomes data collection, or in understanding the evidence base for your model. The advice includes:

  • Existing research and evidence in your sector to help you establish what evidence already exists. This will help you understand the extent to which you need to collect outcomes data yourself, or how rigorous your methodology needs to be.
  • Guidance to help you design suitable outcomes or indicators to evaluate your service or programme.
  • Existing outcomes frameworks and data collection tools developed by academics or leading charities in the field. The benefit of using an existing framework or measure is that you don’t have to spend time and money developing your own, and you can be more confident in the quality. The downside is that it is not tailored to your organisation, so some outcomes or data collection tools may not be suitable for your context or the people you work with.

Please note that these resources were not identified through an exhaustive review.

Research and evidence



Drug misuse prevention: targeted interventions Guidance covering targeted interventions to prevent misuse of drugs, including illegal drugs, ‘legal highs’ and prescription-only medicines. It aims to prevent or delay harmful use of drugs in children, young people and adults who are most likely to start using drugs or who are already experimenting or using drugs occasionally (NICE, 2017).
Preventing drug and alcohol misuse: effective interventions A summary of international evidence on effective alcohol and drug misuse prevention interventions and examples of their use in England (Public Health England, 2015).




Reversing the Trend Guide to evaluating young people’s drug and alcohol services. Includes a logic model, key evaluation questions and case studies (Lloyds TSB Foundation (now the Corra Foundation) for Scotland’s Partnership Drugs Initiative and Evaluation Support Scotland, 2013).


Frameworks and data collection tools 



Drug and alcohol star Tool for adults in substance or alcohol misuse services, focusing on ten outcomes that were found to be critical in supporting people to progress towards and maintain a life free from drug misuse and problem drinking. There is also a Teen Star for young people with complex needs, including substance misuse (Triangle Consulting Social Enterprise). Requires a licence.


Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire Tool to measure severity of dependence on alcohol. Self-administered questionnaire, 20 items (Addiction Research Unit at the Maudsley Hospital).


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These webpages have been adapted from the Inspiring Impact programme, which ran from 2011 until early 2022 and supported voluntary organisations to improve their impact practice. More information about the Inspiring Impact programme.