Drug Treatment: What Works?

Drug Treatment: What Works?

Drug Treatment: What Works?

Drug Treatment: What Works?


Britain, like almost everywhere else, has a burgeoning drug problem. Finding ways of dealing with this problem is a major platform of government policy and a great deal has been made of the impact of treatment on drug users. Drug Treatment: What Works? is a cutting edge survey of the latest developments in these treatments, and it sets out to ask some of the crucial questions in the treatment of drug abusers; including: * Which treatments work with what sorts of abusers? * What are the key indicators of likely success? * Does coercion work or must treatment be freely entered into? * Is drug testing an essential backup for successful treatment? Featuring contributions from some the leading figures in this field, Drug Treatment: What Works? will be essential reading for students, academics and professionals studying drug treatment in the areas criminology, social policy and medicine.


In spite of claims that 'Treatment Works' - a view adopted by the British government and numerous treatment agencies, there is little research evidence to confirm that assertion. This in spite of a burgeoning drug problem in Britain and a Government wanting to increase treatment facilities. Throughout this book we have adopted a bias towards treatment, and have wanted to strike an optimistic note, although not so optimistic as to ignore the obvious limitations. We do so knowing that this optimism is fragile and easily overturned. For example, we do not know how treatment works, with whom it works, or whether some treatment modalities work better than others. What we offer is a popular belief that it does work, and this view is supported by a number of chapters in this volume (see Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5). Like governments, we too have accepted it readily because it provides the only sure way of dealing with the problem; it provides a life-raft and gives hope against an otherwise relentless increase in drug use.

That claim, or rather the assumption that underlies the theme of this book, is that treatment does work. Our aim has been to pull together some of the more interesting features of the treatment of substance abuse, hoping to place it at the centre of the drugs debate. We have tried also to cover areas which we think will be of interest to academics and practitioners alike. We cannot claim to have covered more than a small part of a largely uncharted area, but sufficient, we hope, to raise awareness.

A recurring theme throughout is the lamentable shortage of British research on treatment. It is little short of a disgrace that funding has not been forthcoming. If this book promotes more research, then all to the good. Perhaps then we shall begin to answer some basic questions, such as how and in what way treatment works, or what the effects of treatment practices are. Research is long overdue, although the establishment of a National Treatment Agency (NTA) provides hints of a better future, but the NTA cannot expect to be the sole research provider.

We wish to thank all those who have helped produce this book, whether as contributors or colleagues, and especially those in the Midlands Centre for Criminology and the Department of Social Sciences,

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