web of addictions

What's New - July 1, 1999

Changing the Conversation: A National Plan to Improve Substance Abuse Treatment
In an unprecedented effort to improve the availability, accessibility and quality of substance abuse treatment services nationwide, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has launched a new initiative: "Changing the Conversation: A National Plan to Improve Substance Abuse Treatment." They have established a National Treatment Plan website to provide information about this inititive.

The initiative consists of a series of stakeholder meetings and public hearings addressing five issue areas:

Public hearings are already scheduled for Hartford, Connecticut, Chicago, Illinois, Portland, Oregon, and Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida. They are also soliciting comments/suggestions concerning the National Treatment Plan (NTP) by using the following email address: NaTxPlan@samhsa.gov. Check the NTP web page for updates.

Substance Abuse Support Groups Improve Coping, Friendships
Support groups work to help individuals overcome substance abuse by increasing active coping responses, general quality of friendships, and support received from friends for abstaining, a new study shows. The study by is described in a News Release put out by the Center for the Advancement of Health.

"Many studies have tried to determine whether or not support and self-help groups are effective," says Keith Humphreys, PhD, head of the study. "But hardly any of studies have tried to analyze the mechanisms through which self-help groups exert their effects."

"Our goal was to specify the core processes through which support groups achieve important health outcomes so that knowledge might be generalized to other types of interventions," says Humphreys. The research is reported in the current issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

The study, conducted by scientists at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System and Stanford University School of Medicine, followed 2,337 veterans through the year after their discharge from inpatient treatment for substance abuse.

The participants became broadly involved in substance abuse support groups. A year after treatment, 84.4 percent of the men reported engaging in at least one of the following activities: attending Alcoholics/Cocaine or Narcotics Anonymous (AA/CA/NA) meetings, reading their literature, and attempting to incorporate at least some of "twelve steps" of these organizations into their lives. "Individuals who became involved in self-help groups were less likely to use drugs and alcohol after treatment, developed richer friendship networks, and reported coping more effectively with stress," says Humphreys.

Friends' support for abstinence had much more powerful effect on the course of individuals' recovery than did general friendship quality, the scientists found, comparing the types of friendships generated within the self-help groups.

"If an individual's friends do not use substances, incentives to use them are removed from the social environment and positive social activities that don't involve substance abuse become more available," says Humphreys. "Drinking buddies who encourage you to drink are supplanted by friends who support abstinence efforts and provide encouragement for not using alcohol and drugs."

He added, "It seems that positive cycles develop among self-help group members over time, so that active coping, richer social networks, reduced stressors, and abstinence reinforce each other,"

What's Driving You?
What's Driving You? is a unique prevention effort aimed at drinking drivers ages 21 - 34, although we also have specific information about "Zero Tolerance" laws for under age drinkers. It is based on the proven curriculum of the Chicago-based Intervention Instruction, Inc., a leader in prevention education for over 20 years.

Parallel Paths of Recovery
Parallel Paths of Recovery is a Dual Diagnosis On-line Support Group. It offers support to those individuals who are diagnosed with a mental illness as well as an addictive disorder. The page also offers support to those whose lives are affected by a dual diagnosis in a Significant Other such as a spouse, brother, sister, friend, etc..

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The Web of Addictions pages Copyright © 1999 by Andrew L. Homer Ph.D. and Dick Dillon. All rights reserved.

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