Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)

National Agencies

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) leads the Nation in scientific research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. It supports and conducts research across a broad range of disciplines, including genetics, functional neuroimaging, social neuroscience, prevention, medication and behavioral therapies, and health services. It then disseminates the results of that research to significantly improve prevention and treatment and to inform policy as it relates to drug abuse and addiction.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) provides leadership in the national effort to reduce alcohol-related problems by conducting and supporting research in a wide range of scientific areas, including genetics, neuroscience, epidemiology, health risks and benefits of alcohol consumption, prevention, and treatment; coordinating and collaborating with other research institutes and Federal programs on alcohol-related issues; collaborating with international, national, State, and local institutions, organizations, agencies, and programs engaged in alcohol-related work; and translating and disseminating research findings to healthcare providers, researchers, policymakers, and the public. Additional information is available at or by calling 301-443-3860.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

The mission of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure. In support of this mission, NIMH generates research and promotes research training to fulfill the following four objectives: (1) promote discovery in the brain and behavioral sciences to fuel research on the causes of mental disorders; (2) chart mental illness trajectories to determine when, where, and how to intervene; (3) develop new and better interventions that incorporate the diverse needs and circumstances of people with mental illnesses; and (4) strengthen the public health impact of NIMH-supported research. Additional information is available at or by calling 301-443-4513.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), a part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is responsible for supporting treatment services through a block grant program, as well as disseminating findings to the field and promoting their adoption. CSAT also operates the 24-hour National Treatment Referral Hotline (1-800-662-HELP), which offers information and referral services to people seeking treatment programs and other assistance. CSAT publications are available through  SAMHSA's Store ( Additional information about CSAT can be found on SAMHSA's Web site at

Selected NIDA Educational Resources on Drug Addiction Treatment

Blending products. NIDA's Blending Initiative—a joint venture with SAMHSA and its nationwide network of Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTCs)—uses "Blending Teams" of community practitioners, SAMHSA trainers, and NIDA researchers to create products and devise strategic dissemination plans for them. Completed products include those that address the value of buprenorphine therapy and onsite rapid HIV testing in community treatment programs; strategies for treating prescription opioid dependence; and the need to enhance healthcare workers' proficiency in using tools such as the Addiction Severity Index (ASI), motivational interviewing, and motivational incentives. For more information on Blending products, please visit NIDA's Web site at

Addiction Severity Index. Provides a structured clinical interview designed to collect information about substance use and functioning in life areas from adult clients seeking drug abuse treatment. For more information on using the ASI and to obtain copies of the most recent edition, please visit

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction (Reprinted 2010). This publication provides an overview of the science behind the disease of addiction. Publication #NIH 10-5605. Available online at

Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations: A Research-Based Guide (Revised 2012). Provides 13 essential treatment principles and includes resource information and answers to frequently asked questions. NIH Publication No.: 11-5316. Available online at

NIDA DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction (Revised 2009). This is a fact sheet covering research findings on effective treatment approaches for drug abuse and addiction. Available online at

Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinicians's guide (published by NIAAA). This booklet is written for primary care and mental health clinicians and provides guidance in screening and managing alcohol-dependent patients. Available online at

Research Report Series: Therapeutic Community (2002). This report provides information on the role of residential drug-free settings and their role in the treatment process. NIH Publication #02-4877. Available online at

Initiatives Designed to Move Treatment Research into Practice

Clinical Trials Network

Assessing the real-world effectiveness of evidence-based treatments is a crucial step in bringing research to practice. Established in 1999, NIDA’s National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN) uses community settings with diverse patient populations and conditions to adjust and test protocols to meet the practical needs of addiction treatment. Since its inception, the CTN has tested pharmacological and behavioral interventions for drug abuse and addiction, along with common co-occurring conditions (e.g., HIV and PTSD) among various target populations, including adolescent drug abusers, pregnant drug-abusing women, and Spanish-speaking patients. The CTN has also tested prevention strategies in drug-abusing groups at high risk for HCV and HIV and has become a key element of NIDA’s multipronged approach to move promising science-based drug addiction treatments rapidly into community settings. For more information on the CTN, please visit

Criminal Justice-Drug Abuse Treatment Studies

NIDA is taking an approach similar to the CTN to enhance treatment for drug-addicted individuals involved with the criminal justice system through Criminal Justice–Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJ-DATS). Whereas NIDA’s CTN has as its overriding mission the improvement of the quality of drug abuse treatment by moving innovative approaches into the larger community, research supported through CJ-DATS is designed to effect change by bringing new treatment models into the criminal justice system and thereby improve outcomes for offenders with substance use disorders. It seeks to achieve better integration of drug abuse treatment with other public health and public safety forums and represents a collaboration among NIDA; SAMHSA; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Department of Justice agencies; and a host of drug treatment, criminal justice, and health and social service professionals.

Blending Teams

Another way in which NIDA is seeking to actively move science into practice is through a joint venture with SAMHSA and its nationwide network of Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTCs). This process involves the collaborative efforts of community treatment practitioners, SAMHSA trainers, and NIDA researchers, some of whom form "Blending Teams" to create products and devise strategic dissemination plans for them. Through the creation of products designed to foster adoption of new treatment strategies, Blending Teams are instrumental in getting the latest evidence-based tools and practices into the hands of treatment professionals. To date, a number of products have been completed. Topics have included increasing awareness of the value of buprenorphine therapy and enhancing healthcare workers' proficiency in using tools such as the ASI, motivational interviewing, and motivational incentives. For more information on Blending products, please visit NIDA’s Web site at

Other Federal Resources

The National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. This database of interventions for the prevention and treatment of mental and substance use disorders is maintained by SAMHSA and can be accessed at

SAMHSA's Store has a wide range of products, including manuals, brochures, videos, and other publications. Phone: 800-487-4889; Web site:

The National Institute of Justice. As the research agency of the Department of Justice, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) supports research, evaluation, and demonstration programs relating to drug abuse in the context of crime and the criminal justice system. For information, including a wealth of publications, contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at 800-851-3420 or 301-519-5500; or visit

Clinical Trials. For more information on federally and privately supported clinical trials, please visit

This publication is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA. Citation of the source is appreciated, using the following language: Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.