Why are Evidence-Based Practices Important?

In 1998 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report entitled, Bridging the Gap Between Practice and Research: Forging Partnerships with Community-Based Drug and Alcohol Treatment. This report discussed the gap between what scientific research found to be effective treatment for substance abuse disorders and what is actually practiced in substance-abuse treatment settings.

The IOM report was the first of a number of reports that suggested that this gap existed. In a second report issued by the IOM in 2001, it was suggested that it took roughly 17 years for an effective research-based treatment intervention to become commonly used in substance abuse treatment practice. These reports began a movement spearheaded by the federal governments’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), to close the gap between research and practice.

The IOM report was the first of a number of reports that suggested that this gap existed. In a second report issued by the IOM in 2001, it was suggested that it took roughly 17 years for an effective research-based treatment intervention to become commonly used in substance abuse treatment practice. These reports began a movement spearheaded by the federal governments’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), to close the gap between research and practice.

The advantage for service providers in using evidence-based practices is that there is a very strong probability that the specified outcomes will be achieved. For providers working in a challenging field like substance abuse treatment, in which relapse is common for patients, the use of evidence-based practices can give them a decided edge as they work to help people overcome their addictions.  Not only can the use of evidence-based practices improve the final outcome, it can also improve the work environment and an agency’s bottom line. Staff have clear guidance on how to carry out their duties and the expectation that their efforts will show results. Funders have the assurance that resources are being directed toward something that will work, not something that might work.4

It is also important to note, however, that client retention in addiction treatment is also tied to positive outcomes. The longer patients are engaged in treatment activities, the better the outcomes are. If specific treatment methods demonstrate improved retention rates they may be preferable to some existing practices.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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