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Lack of Outcome Research?

A recent article noted that more outcome research is needed in the field of addiction treatment. The context was that the writer believed that their approach (peer-led support) was effective based on anecdotal evidence and that all that remained was to do some research to prove it. Similar articles about addition treatment can be readily found as practitioners often stated their firm belief in the intervention approach but have little evidence to support that belief. In a similar way, detractors and critics of addiction treatment methods site the “lack of research” as a proof argument for their beliefs that treatment is not very effective. However, lack of research does not prove or disprove anything. Both supporters and critics of addiction treatment make a false assumption in that they assume that outcome research could be done and that it would support their positions when completed. Both are wrong. The problem is that outcome research in this area is so difficult.

A common theme for critics of treatment is that traditional 12 step based centers won’t allow themselves to be studied. More that on article has actually stated that Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) won’t allow itself to be studied. It creates the illusion that there is an intentional lack of cooperation from these entities. We have found that either group is open to study if we can find an effective way to do it. The need for more and better outcome research is real. The problem lies in methodology, not in beliefs. We are dedicated to finding the methods that will work to produce real outcome data that may improve the effectiveness of treatment.