Topic: Substance Abuse Treatment (Adult)

Scientific Ratings in this topic:

1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence

2 - Supported by Research Evidence

3 - Promising Research Evidence

4 - Evidence Fails to Demonstrate Effect

5 - Concerning Practice

NR - Not able to be Rated

Learn more about the scale

Definition for Substance Abuse Treatment (Adult):

Substance Abuse Treatment (Adult) is defined by the CEBC as the treatment of adults with a diagnosed substance use disorder, or substance use problems, addiction, dependence, or abuse. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, including outpatient, day treatment, residential, or inpatient, and may involve detoxification, counseling, education, relapse prevention training, life skills training, and self-help groups. National data shows that approximately 8% of the population has used an illicit drug in the past month, while 23% reported binge drinking and 7% reported heavy drinking in the past month. One of the primary signs of substance abuse is the continued use of drugs or alcohol despite experiencing the serious negative consequences of heavy drug or alcohol use, such as being fired from a job or arrested. Substance use appears to be even more common among families involved in child welfare, with a recent round of Children and Family Service Reviews showing that 16% to 48% of all child welfare cases include substance use disorders. Substance use may be going unrecognized by child welfare as, according to the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW), 71% of caregivers who are alcohol dependent are classified by the child welfare workers as not having alcohol problems and 73% of caregivers who are drug dependent are classified by child welfare workers as not having a drug problem. The Pharmacological Treatment for Substance Abuse page has links to reputable organizations that list information on medications used to help treat substance abuse.

  • Target population: Adults with a diagnosed substance use disorder, or substance use problems, addiction, dependence, or abuse
  • Services/types that fit: Outpatient, day treatment, and residential services in individual or group formats
  • Delivered by: Mental health professionals or trained paraprofessionals
  • In order to be included: Program must specifically target adult substance use as a goal
  • In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by the Scientific Rating Scale) that examines outcomes related to substance abuse, such changes in symptom levels, behaviors, and/or functioning
Downloadable Topic Area Summary

Programs in this Topic Area

The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.

One Program with a Scientific Rating of 1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence:

Six Programs with a Scientific Rating of 2 - Supported by Research Evidence:

Seven Programs with a Scientific Rating of 3 - Promising Research Evidence:

Six Programs with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated:

Why was this topic chosen by the Advisory Committee?

The Substance Abuse Treatment (Adult) topic area is relevant to child welfare because many children are brought into the child welfare system due to their parent's substance abuse. The more significant risks to children of substance abusers include poorer developmental outcomes, depression, anxiety, and a high risk of substance abuse themselves. Research has shown that these children exhibit physical health consequences; lack of secure attachment; language delays; behavioral problems; poor social relations and skills; deficits in motor skills and cognition; and learning disabilities. The parents of these children need adequate identification by child welfare workers and these children themselves need in-depth assessments and interventions. Only by discovering evidence-based best practices can we begin to stop the destructive results of substance abusing parents and stop the cycle of addiction for the children of these parents.

Debby Jeter
Former Advisory Committee Member

Topic Expert

The Substance Abuse Treatment (Adult) topic area was added in 2006. Nancy Young, MSW, PhD was the topic expert and was involved in identifying and rating any of the programs with an original load date in 2006 (as found on the bottom of the program's page on the CEBC) or others loaded earlier and added to this topic area when it launched. The topic area has grown over the years and any programs added since 2006 were identified by CEBC staff, the Scientific Panel, and/or the Advisory Committee. For these programs, Dr. Young was not involved in identifying or rating them.