Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices for Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Disorders

Only three states have mandated the adoption of evidence-based practices for substance abuse treatment.

Treating substance abuse with evidence-based practices (EBPs) incorporates the best available research, clinical expertise, and patient values. State substance abuse authorities (SSAs) promote the adoption of EBPs.

This article reports on interviews with SSA staff members; the interviews, which took place between November 2006 and January 2007, assessed then current strategies for EBP implementation. The main interview questions addressed the National Quality Forum’s five categories of substance abuse EBPs. Regional addiction technology transfer centers (ATTC) administered the interviews to 49 SSAs. For example, the Northwest Frontier ATTC provided data for Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Idaho and Alaska.

Key Findings:

  • As promotional strategies for EBP implementation, education and training received more support than regulatory strategies or financial incentives.
  • Thirty-one SSA representatives (63%) said that substance abuse EBPs were included in their agencies’ contracts with providers.

This study investigated current SSA strategies for implementing substance abuse EBPs. Based on interviews with SSA staff members, the authors report data in several categories, including: legislative policy, contracting, regulation and accreditation, and promotional activities. States use several approaches to encourage, and sometimes require, the adoption of EBPs.