About the Drug and Alcohol HIT

The Drug and Alcohol Health Integration Team (HIT) is a team of public health experts, academics, doctors and other professionals, working together to reduce the harm that can be caused by alcohol and substance use.

Excessive alcohol use is the third leading risk factor for morbidity in Western Europe. Liver disease is the fifth most common cause of death in the UK and is on the increase, primarily caused by excessive drinking and hepatitis C (HCV). Over 85 per cent of HCV in the UK is due to injecting drug use, and opiate-related deaths are a major contributor to premature mortality.

Excessive drinking may be associated with half of all violent crimes. The annual social and economic costs of problem drug use are estimated to be £12 billion (88 per cent associated with drug-related crime) and £21 billion for alcohol-related harm. Young people in the UK report some of the highest rates of alcohol consumption and hazardous drinking in Europe, and 50 per cent of those under 16 report heavy episodic drinking. Early and hazardous drinking in adolescence is associated with adult alcohol consumption and problems.

Drug and alcohol treatment services and interventions to prevent drug misuse and excessive drinking span secondary care, primary care, police, probation and other public services in the community, and extend to policies and powers administered by the local authority.

The team was formerly known as the Addictions HIT.

Aims and objectives

The overall aim of the Drug and Alcohol HIT is to maximise the use of the resources already available to reduce substance-related harm.

The HIT focuses on prevention, treatment and management of harmful substance and alcohol use and dependence.

Who’s involved

The leading experts in alcohol and substance addiction in Bristol are involved in the team. The HIT steering group is made up of:

  • HIT director: Leonie Roberts, Consultant in Public Health, Bristol City Council
  • HIT director: Dr Jo Kesten, Research Fellow, University of Bristol

For a full list of HIT members and collaborators, visit the who’s involved page.

How patients and the public are involved

The Drug and Alcohol HIT includes patient and public involvement (PPI) as one of its key themes. The HIT will include service user representatives and a PPI lead on the team, and uses existing networks to enable involvement of a wide variety of service users and those affected by addiction.

Strategies to promote peer involvement in treatment will be an important aspect of the HIT. User and peer involvement is critical and has shaped earlier research as the Research for Patient Benefit ‘Script in a Day’ study, which stemmed from a series of focus groups with patients and peer support workers. Service users have also been involved in a group looking at community treatment options for hepatitis C, as well as successful NIHR ARC West projects.

Projects and activities

The Drug and Alcohol HIT’s projects include:

  • Reducing levels of blood stream infections among people who inject drugs;
  • Reducing drug related deaths;
  • Preventing and reducing levels of prescription opioid dependence;
  • Improved health outcomes for people experiencing domestic and sexual violence and
  • Improvement in access, uptake and completion of alcohol detoxification via primary and secondary care.

Drug and Alcohol HIT Meetings

The Drug and Alcohol HIT network met virtually on 30 June 2021 to consider a trauma informed approach across the life course, and opportunities to better connect.

Download each presentation by clicking on the links below.

Drug and Alcohol HIT at the HIT conference

The Drug and Alcohol HIT presented this poster (PDF) at the 2018 Bristol Health Partners Health Integration Team conference.

View the 2015 video