Brief Interventions May Not Be Useful in Counteracting Drug Use: Studies

Two new studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that brief counseling may not be effective in counteracting drug use. Previous research has shown brief interventions can help some problem drinkers, NPR reports.

Public health officials have been urging primary care doctors and hospital emergency rooms to ask patients about drug use, and to immediately give those with a drug problem a 10- to 15-minute counseling session, known as a brief intervention.

One of the new studies looked at more than 500 people who were determined to have a drug problem, based on a verbal screening at a primary care clinic. They were divided into three groups. The first two groups received brief counseling, while the third group received no counseling. After six months, those who had received brief counseling had not reduced drug use any more than people who received no counseling.

Full story of counteracting drug use at

Those in Recovery Should Speak Out, Give Hope to Others: Drug Policy Official

People in recovery from substance abuse should speak out and give hope to others in similar situations, according to the Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Michael Botticelli, speaking at a forum in New Haven, noted 23 million Americans are recovery. Only about one in nine people with a substance use disorder receive treatment, he said. Botticelli said stigma and denial about substance abuse are obstacles to treatment, the Associated Press reports.

Full story of people in recovery speaking out at

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SMART Recovery Can be Good Alternative or Addition to AA: Researcher

For some people in recovery, SMART Recovery groups are a valuable alternative or addition to traditional 12-step groups, according to a researcher at Penn State University.

SMART Recovery groups are facilitator-led, structured discussion groups that are closely aligned with counseling techniques. Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous and other traditional 12-step groups, SMART Recovery focuses on self-empowerment instead of surrendering to a higher power, says Deirdre O’Sullivan, PhD, Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education at Penn State.

Dr. O’Sullivan discussed results from a recent study she conducted on SMART Recovery group members and facilitators, at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders annual meeting on September 22.

Of the 3.8 million people who received treatment for substance abuse in the United States in 2011, 2.1 million received treatment exclusively at a peer support group, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Dr. O’Sullivan said receiving help from a peer support group is more important than which support group a person attends. “Extensive and rigorous research findings indicate peer support group attendance enhances remission rates,” she said.

Full story of addiction recovery research at

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Addiction: The disease that lies

Anytime I hear about a death that may be linked to addiction, I am reminded that this is a misunderstood and deadly disease. Deaths caused by addiction have risen astronomically in the past decade. Drug overdose is now the No.1 cause of accidental death in the United States; more common than death by car accidents.

“Glee” actor Cory Monteith, who was found dead at a Vancouver hotel on Saturday, had said that he struggled with substance abuse since his teenage years. The cause of his death is not yet known; medical examiners were set to perform an autopsy Monday.

Whenever someone with addiction dies, I grieve the lost potential and wonder about the limitations of our ability to address this cunning, baffling and powerful disease.

I am also humbled by my own experience with addiction and recovery, and grateful for the help I received.

It seems nearly impossible to believe that people with addiction would continue to use drugs and alcohol to the point of death, but that is what people with addiction do: They deny both the consequences and the risks of using. As we continue to learn about addiction, we’re understanding more about why addicted people behave the way they do. But that’s little solace for friends and family.

Full story about addiction and abuse at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education