Harm Reduction Acceptance Soars Amongst NAADAC Therapists

Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
11/02/2012 – ATIN- A new study shows that there has been a huge decline in hard line abstinence only views of addiction treatment drug rehab alcohol rehab success over the last twenty years, according to a recently completed major survey of addiction counselor attitudes. The debate centers around whether abstinence from alcohol and drug use is the only acceptable measure of treatment outcomes or whether, if use continued, therapy and education that resulted in reduced harm could also be counted as a sucess. The latter approach has become known as the “harm reduction” movement, with needle exchanges being among the prime examples of harm reduction in action. Researchers surveyed NAADAC - The Association for Addiction Professionals 913 members of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Counselors from across the United States. About 50 percent of the respondents said it would be acceptable if some of their clients who abused alcohol wanted to limit their drinking but not totally give up alcohol. In the earlier survey published in 1994, about 25 percent of the responding administrators of substance abuse treatment agencies found moderate drinking acceptable for some of their clients. The results show how it has become more accepted among therapists that addiction problems exist along a pathology continuum. The “one size fits all” abstinence-only approaches, heavily influenced by Alcoholics Anonymous over the years, are becoming to be considered increasingly outmoded, with a proliferation recent years of centers that offer non-AA based modalities and therapeutic approaches.

read our feature story on the proliferation of non-AA-based treatment