Partnerships between providers and policy-makers to boost evidence-based treatment of substance use yield important treatment successes this study found.

This article discusses the outcomes of Advancing Recovery, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national initiative designed to overcome the challenges and increase the adoption of evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders.

A three-year, mixed-method study compared strategies and outcomes among partnerships between providers and policy-makers to increase evidence-based treatment, namely, medication-assisted treatment and continuing care management. Twelve sites were selected after a competitive application process and were informed about the change model including the Five Levers of Change that make up the Advancing Recovery initiative.

Key Findings:

  • The Advancing Recovery model successfully helped increase the number of patients served with evidence-based treatment with substance use disorders in most sites.
  • Higher rates of adopting the medication-assisted treatment were observed.

Most policy-maker and provider partnerships found efforts that proved successful by an incremental trial-and-error process with no single tool or process being the most effective. One site utilized a walkthrough, whereby the providers could experience treatment through the patients’ eyes, just as “the Advancing Recovery model views the patient experience as a crucial tool for identifying ways to improve care processes.”

These 12 sites were provided additional funding and technical aid to support their change efforts that may pose a key limitation to this study.