It is believed that expanding access to treatment will help marginalized people both recover from addiction and develop the skills, resources and zeal to participate more fully in community life.
There are many paths to recovery from addiction. Some drug dependent people stop using on their own, others use religious activities or self-help groups. Others require treatment in one of the four general modalities described below. Treatment can include behavioral approaches, medications or, in many cases, both.
Outpatient Drug-Free Programs provide individual, group and family counseling. Patients served are typically dependent on cocaine and/or alcohol. Programs employ a wide variety of counseling styles. They appropriately use medication combined with behavioral therapies to maximize therapeutic response. These medication-based therapies include psychiatric treatment and outpatient detoxification.
Opioid Agonist Programs treat people dependent on heroin. They provide counseling and either methadone or Levo-Alpha Acetyl Methadol (LAAM), two medications that block the withdrawal, craving and euphoric effects of heroin.
Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs are designed for people dependent on alcohol or drugs. They may last several days to weeks and often use counseling techniques based on self-help programs. Medical and psychiatric screening may be available. Discharged patients are usually referred to outpatient programs and self-help groups.
Therapeutic Communities are long-term residential treatments for people who are unable to discontinue drug use through other treatments. Lasting six months or longer, they offer a highly structured program, which uses behavior modification and assigns increasingly responsible tasks to resocialize residents.
Drug addiction treatment is as effective as treatment for other chronic disorders. For example, a recent study demonstrated a reduction in alcohol and drug use (52% and 69%, respectively) one year after treatment. Another study showed a 64% reduction in arrests one year after treatment. Further, drug treatment prevents the spread of HIV. Patients enrolled in methadone maintenance were five times less likely to contract HIV than drug injecting people not in treatment.