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States Guide Treatment Services, Study Says

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State rules and policies play an important role in determining the type of addiction treatment delivered to patients and could be key to getting more treatment programs to adopt proven interventions, according to a new report.

Researchers led by Jamie F. Chriqui, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago looked at the impact of state policy requirements on outpatients care at 9,000 addiction-treatment programs nationwide. They found that most services delivered were closely related to research recommendations from the states, and that programs located in states that required more comprehensive services were more likely to deliver them than programs in states without such mandates.

“The states are uniquely positioned to institute specific policy proscriptions emanating from scientific research in the substance abuse treatment arena, indicating that a comprehensive approach…[is] associated with positive treatment outcomes and reduced recidivism,” the authors concluded.

Most of the programs were located in states that required some type of assessment for addiction treatment, but typically did not require the use of comprehensive diagnostic criteria. Few states required drug testing or HIV testing of patients, and a minority of states required programs to provide relapse-prevention services or aftercare.

The study was published in the July 2008 issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

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