I just came across this article and thought it was great. It is short and to the point and tells the reality of addiction treatment in the USA. I do not live in America at the moment but have done in the past, and still have close family there as well as many friends so I do feel it is fair for me to add comments about it.

The article on the examiner questions the standard of treatment and points out that the traditional 12 step model from AA does not have the greatest results. I think it is good that this type of article is being published around the Christmas holiday period as many are thinking about trying to change things in the New Year. I saw many join AA at this time, but it may not be the best choice for many, and many simply walk away from recovery after a few meetings. It is important to get the message out to those at this time of the year.


Here is a small extract.

“Ninety percent of those who enter addiction-treatment programs in the U.S. don’t receive evidence-based and specialized treatment. Instead, they mostly get “treatments” rooted in the view that addicts are weak and narcissistic, and therefore, if ever they’ll stop their destructive and self-destructive behavior. The 12-step system, although effective, may not have everything for everybody. Instead, many addicts relapse, unable to make the step system stick, and are then left with not other options. They find themselves in the revolving door of rehab and prison with no other alternatives. (D Sheff, Time Magazine)”

There are other good pieces that are linked on the page so well worth a look



Commenting area

  1. I read the article. I liked this portion ” In order for specialized care, insurance plans must only pay for programs that offer them. They are the actual best outcome for the money invested.These treatments must be practiced by experts trained in addiction medicine. In addition, practitioners and programs must be monitored and their licenses and accreditations periodically reviewed — just as doctors and hospitals are. There must be full accountability. (D. Sheff, Time Magazine)”

    What I fear is the new insurance plans will just line the pockets of 12 step programs including fancy 12 step based rehabs. I hope that the Insurance companies will ONLY pay for evidenced based and specialized treatment. That would then NOT include 12 step programs. Maybe SMART Recovery http://www.smartrecovery.org will get more recognition.

    It is a shame that there are waiting lists for people who are trying to get off of heroin, pills or alcohol. People are dying waiting for help, and then they die after they get care sometimes because of very poor follow up and just sent to AA or NA meetings. Peoples resistance to drugs is less once they have quit using and go out and sometimes use again only to OD because thier body could not handle the same dosage. Had they been taught about this very real possibility?

    There should be NO waiting list for addicts and alcoholics needing medical detox period.

  2. I think the Hazelden approach of putting 12 step members into positions in rehabs to pass the message on has had a big effect on the recovery culture in USA. There are similar problems in the UK although the lack of religion here does make a slight difference. People are suspicious of the steps from the start. A friend of mine does a lot of work for free in the community but finds it hard to get funding to set up an effective alternative to AA in the present economic conditions in his area. Addicts are bottom of the pile when it comes to treatment and when AA appears to offer a free solution then governments will use it,even though it does not have a great success rate.

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