Current Research and Innovation Projects

Barking and Dagenham Street Drinking Project

WDP and London South Bank University have been commissioned to conduct a mixed methods research project alongside the street drinking outreach programme to explore the local street drinking lands cape, how it affects the community and how effective local provision is. The qualitative element of the project involved conducting interviews with current and ex-street drinkers, staff and local business owners whilst the quantitative data is being gained from service statistics and online resident surveys. 



Validating the Capital Card®

One of our most exciting innovations is the Capital Card ( ), which is based on the principles associated with Contingency Management (NICE CG51, 2007). Putting into action the positive reinforcement of desired behavioural change, the Capital Card is a reward card scheme for service users, incentivising client engagement through a simple earn-spend points system. 

The IRU are currently working in collaboration with London South Bank University to validate the effectiveness of the Capital Card. This quantitative research project involves analysing two years’ worth of data from our Hackney service and aims to identify whether service users with a Capital Card had higher retention rates and better outcomes compared to service users who did not have a Capital Card in the year prior to its introduction. The research also aims to breakdown the data further to ascertain whether the Capital Card is more or less effective on particular cohorts of service users.


How can local maternity services better support vulnerable service users? 

This collaboration between Revolving Doors Agency and Birth Companions recruits, trains and supports mothers who have experience of substance misuse, domestic abuse or criminal justice system to investigate vulnerable women’s experiences of maternal health services in North East London via one-to-one interviews. The report will be shared with commissioners who have commissioned the project in order to improve service users' experiences of maternity services.






The Alcohol Dependence and Adherence to Medicines (ADAM) Trial

This is a national project that is run by King’s College London and funded by the National Institute for Health Research. The trial is a 3-armed prospective, pragmatic, randomised controlled parallel group clinical trial with service users being randomly allocated to one of the three arms: standard support, standard support with adjunctive medication management and standard support, medication management and contingency management. The aim of this project is to determine the effectiveness of medication management and personal achievement award on helping to improve alcohol dependent service users adhere to Acamprosate (Campral) for relapse prevention. The project is currently live in Brent and will be going live in Merton once HRA approval has been gained.   


Heroin Users’ Views of a Novel Long-Acting Buprenorphine Depot Injection: Qualitative Study

King’s College London are in the process of conducting a qualitative research study within WDP services in Havering and Redbridge. This study aims to ascertain heroin user views of a novel long-acting buprenorphine depot injection.





The mapping of Dual Diagnosis care pathways and the identification of existing facilitators and barriers

This in-house project involved mapping the care pathways for service users with co-occurring substance misuse and mental health needs across both Barnet service sites. The project sought to identify what barriers and facilitators currently exist at each stage of the pathway in order to establish service and sector improvements. Both mapping exercises have now been completed and the research team are currently in the process of analysing the data and developing a research report which will be disseminated across WDP, to local stakeholders and commissioners.  


A mixed methods study into Anabolic Androgenic Steroid (AAS) use: the voice of the AAS user

Bournemouth University are seeking to understand how AAS use contributes to mental health and behavioural issues, the barriers AAS users encounter when accessing treatment, the identification of pathways of information sharing the risks associated with using AAS and the practice implications for those working in services offering support to people who use AAS.

The results of this study will help increase the knowledge on why people use AAS and how best to support AAS users who want to, and who are accessing treatment.




GABA-B receptor function in alcohol dependence: a double-blind crossover study of the effects of baclofen and placebo on brain function, as measured by neuroimaging services 

In recent years, several lines of evidence have suggested a significant role of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Type B (GABA-B) in addiction and treatment; specifically, its involvement in dopamine release. Baclofen, a selective GABA-B agonist, is able to inhibit or increase dopamine release and is becoming widely used to help abstinence in drug and alcohol dependents. This study looks to see the links between GABA-B receptors and addiction and is being led by Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes and her colleagues from Imperial College London. 


Gut Hormones in Addiction (GHADD)

This study aims to identify whether gut hormones play a role in addictive behaviours in obesity, nicotine and alcohol dependence. The study is being conducted by Imperial College London and involves recruiting 30 abstinent service users from Hackney and Barnet, between the ages of 18-60, who will be assessed and screened at Hammersmith Hospital.



What contributes to fatigue with health professionals working in drug and alcohol services?

Caring for others can hurt. When a care giver focuses on another without practising proper self-care, the care-giver can begin to develop destructive tendencies. The symptoms can include apathy, decrease in pleasure, lack of satisfaction with job, social isolation and substance misuse; overarching ‘Vicarious Traumatisation’ and ‘Burnout’. Consequently, this study, which is being carried out by a trainee clinical psychology student from Lancaster University, is looking at the factors and variables that lead to or can predict compassion fatigue in drug and alcohol workers.