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Drug Abuse Science and Treatment: Bridging the Gap

Substance abuse treatment generally starts with research studies into the causes of dependency and discovery of means to address or curb these. However, research needs to be translated into clinical practice before it can be of any benefit to the general public – otherwise it would remain knowledge for knowledge’s sake and without any practical application. Unfortunately, the Institute of Medicine found that there is indeed a 17-year gap existing between publication of results of research and their impact on the delivery of treatment.

This gap is what the National Institute on Drug Abuse aims to reduce with its conference entitled “Blending Addiction Science and Treatment: The Impact of Evidence-Based Practices on Individuals, Families, and Communities.” This conference is said to be the biggest in the line of NIDA’s Blending Conferences, which generally aims to be venues for fast dissemination of information and exchange of ideas between scientists and medical health care providers.

In particular, the primary goal of the current conference is to explore the best evidence-based treatment methods so as to help families and friends of dependents or abusers select the best treatment method for their loved ones. By best here, meaning a treatment method that is backed up by research and scientific evidence.

Focus on the new and the latest

Participating in this Blending Conference are several treatment professionals and health care practitioners alongside researchers, criminal justice professionals, and policymakers. The primary aim in bringing such bringing these people together is to explore latest findings of research and stimulate an exchange of ideas on how these findings can be best translated to clinical practices.

Moreover, new clinical tools such as supervisory MIA:STEP and the “Guide to selecting, evaluating and utilizing Evidence-based Practices” would be introduced to clinical practitioners. These tools are pegged to benefit numerous substance abusers as well as help families make informed choices on treatment programs.

This Blending Conference is also set to highlight the latest on the role of stress in psychiatric and substance abuse, the relationship of traumatic brain injury to substance abuse, the impact of abuse to the dependent’s family, and many more substance-abuse related topic.

NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow captures in a few words the significance of the exchange of information expected to occur during the Blending Conference, saying that it is a two-way street. She notes that this conference would not only serve as a venue where the scientific community can share their findings to the clinical community, but also one where researchers can benefit from the wisdom and experience of clinical practitioners.

Continuous innovation

In line with the need to fill the gap between scientific research and clinical treatments, substance abuse treatment centers also continually improve their service. In particular, Miramar Treatment Centers see to it that its facilities and treatment methods are up to date with the latest in drug abuse and treatment science.