We're fortunate that we're learning a great deal more about what makes effective drug treatment. Fortunate for two reasons of course: the first being that we can see that addictions of all sorts are soaring in our modern society. The second in that addiction itself is such a painful, life destroying matter, that getting better at solving or fixing it constitutes an advance in human happiness.
The sorts of things I have in mind as these advances in drug treatment are the things being done by people like the Pat Moore Foundation in California. We used to think that addiction itself was the problem: solve that and everything would be just fine. This we now know isn't always true: there may well be underlying problems which lead to the addiction, meaning that we want to use a dual diagnosis system; the addiction and the underlying problem. We also know that addictions to many different things have some aspects in common.
The technical details of alcohol or heroin addiction are of course different: but the reasons for the addiction can be the same, as can some of the solutions. But while treatments might work across addictions, it's still true that individuals can benefit entirely differently from different methods of intervention. What helps one alcoholic might help a heroin addict but not another alcoholic. So it's necessary for us, when looking at a course of drug treatment, to apply a holistic and inclusive approach. The 12 steps program of AA fame helps some: medical intervention others, purely therapeutic and non-medical techniques others.
This is exactly what the foundation does, being one of the few places which has all of the different options available at the same place and time. To find out more, click through one of the links.