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New NIDA resource helps families navigate addiction treatment options

February 28, 2012

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Akinso: The NIH has developed a new resource that will help people struggling with addiction ask the right questions before choosing drug treatment options.

Dowling: It's called Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know what to Ask.

Akinso: Dr. Gaya Dowling is from the NIH.

Dowling: It's a booklet that describes five basic questions that people who are looking for drug abuse treatment can ask a treatment program to find out if it would be appropriate for them.

Akinso: The booklet, also available online, is based on a NIH resource describing the principles of drug addiction treatment from a research-based perspective. Dr. Dowling explains that the booklet covers a variety of themes.

Dowling: It asks questions like weather the program uses evidence based treatments. If the program will tailor the treatment to the needs of the patient, if it will adapt the treatment as the patients need change. Another important factor is how long treatment last. So is the duration of the treatment sufficient for the patient. And it also asks about how 12 step programs work into treatments. Since most people who are looking for treatment may not have heard of a lot of the other programs but they do know what 12 step is and should know how that is incorporated into the treatment.

Akinso: According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2010 an estimated 22.1 million persons aged 12 years or older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year – that's 8.7 percent of the population aged 12 or older. The goal of drug abuse treatment is to stop drug use and help people return to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community. However, keeping patients in treatment long enough to achieve that goal can be difficult. Finding the right treatment for an individual's specific needs is critical. This booklet describes available medications and evidence-based behavioral therapies; the need for comprehensive, tailored, and sustained treatment; as well as the reality of relapse and the role of community-level support. To get a copy of the booklet or see the content online, visit www.drugabuse.gov. For NIH Radio, this is Wally Akinso– NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health.

This page was last updated February 2012

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