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Treating Drug Problems

NCJ Number
D R Gerstein, H J Harwood
Date Published
677 pages
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences conducted, as called for by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, a study of the extent and adequacy of coverage by public programs, private insurance, and other sources of payment for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug abusers. This two-volume report discusses the role, need, goals, effects, and organization of treatment.
The first chapter discusses various ideas governing drug policy, ranging from libertarianism to medical and criminal ideas, the classic notions underlying narcotics control, and the rise of modern treatment. The need for treatment is based on consideration of many factors: patterns of drug consumption, dependence, and recovery and relapse. The report discusses the goals of drug treatment and the effectiveness of various treatment methods, including methadone, therapeutic communities, outpatient programs, detoxification, and treatment in prison, as well as the costs and benefits of different treatment modalities. Finally, the report examines the two-tiered structure of the treatment system, focusing on both public and private financing of drug treatment. The second volume of the report consists of seven commissioned papers to inform the Institute of Medicine about selected aspects of the drug treatment problem. Chapter references