University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Public Health Research
Early online date6 Aug 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Aug 2022


Background: Substance misuse is a significant global health concern. In the UK, the prevalence of substance misuse has increased over the past decade and the number of alcohol and drug related deaths are increasing. Individuals with substance dependency issues are entitled to access treatment services. However, the COVID-19 pandemic created significant challenges for public services, including drug and alcohol treatment, and resulted in significant service reconfiguration and a shift from in-person to remote delivery. This study aims to evaluate the delivery of drug and alcohol services in a large metropolitan area in Northern England during the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to understand the impact of service reconfiguration for services, staff and service users, and to use this understanding to inform the future optimised design of services.

Design and methods: The study has five workstreams within a mixed methods framework: (1) Systematic review of literature; (2) Qualitative process evaluation with service providers (digital timelines, focus groups and interviews); (3) Qualitative process evaluation with service users (interviews, focus groups, text based conversations and case studies); (4) Quantitative outcomes and health economic analysis; and (5) Data synthesis and dissemination. Expected Impact of the study for

Public Health: The breadth of the study, its novel nature, and the importance of substance misuse as a public health issue, mean that this study will provide valuable findings for those who commission, deliver and use drug and alcohol treatment services nationally and internationally. There will also be important learning for the effective remote delivery of services in sectors beyond drug and alcohol treatment.


© The Author(s) 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (

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