National Institute of Health’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide

  1. Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.
  2. No single treatment is appropriate for everyone.  
  3. Treatment needs to be readily available.
  4. Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse. 
  5. Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical.  
  6. Behavioral therapies—including individual, family, or group counseling—are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment.   
  7. Medications are an important element of treatment for many patients, especially when combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies. 
  8. An individual’s treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs. 
  9. Many drug-addicted individuals also have other mental disorders. 
  10. Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse. 
  11. Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective. 
  12. Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously, as lapses during treatment do occur.
  13. Treatment programs should test patients for the presence of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases as well as provide targeted risk-reduction counseling, linking patients to treatment if necessary.  

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