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Benefits and disadvantages of community based programmes Information

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Benefits and disadvantages of community based programmes

Recent policy changes have begun to try to incorporate approaches that are more person-centred and individualised (Best et al., 2010). With more emphasis on the recovery approach being made in community settings concerns have been raised about the engagement of clients in this form of treatment, and its sufficiency in working towards complete recovery.

A study by Best et al., (2010) looked at the benefits and disadvantages of community based programmes and the recovery model. An addiction center typically offers detox and intensive psychological treatment within the safety and secure confinements of an addiction center. An alternative to this approach is community care and prescription programmes.

Benefits of methadone maintenance programmes are that they have been effective in reducing crime (HM Government, p. 6) and reducing mortality related to viral spread diseases through shared syringes and needles (Dolan, Wodak, &Hall;,1998). It has also been noted that programmes of treatment oriented towards complete abstinence have higher rates of accidental overdose than recovery programmes such as methadone (Strang et al., 2003). However this may be reflective of a lack of ongoing support as suitable levels of support in all forms of treatment are needed to avoid the risk of relapse.

Best et al., (2010) make the point that the demand for residential treatment outstrips resources.  Therefore if resources are limited the benefits of treatment at addiction centres could be lost through the unavailability of a structured aftercare programme considered key in maximising longer term success. A number of studies have identified the need for structured aftercare programmes and engagement with support groups for maintained abstinence, (Humphreys, 2004). With the high success rates of residential treatment compared to methadone maintenance services shown by studies such as McKeganey et al., (2006) then the benefits of inpatient care should not be overlooked. 

Figures of increased mortality in drug users coincide with figures of high numbers of drug users not engaging in any form of treatment (Best et al., 2010), highlighting that although there is still wide disagreement in terms of recovery approach seeking any help is better than getting no support at all.


Best, Bamber, Battersby, Gilman, Groshkova,  Honor, McCartney, Yates & White (2010): Recovery and Straw Men: An Analysis of the Objections Raised to the Transition to a Recovery Model in UK Addiction Services, Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 5:3-4, 264-288

Dolan, K., Wodak, A. D., & Hall, W. D. (1998). Methadone maintenance treatment reduces heroin injection in New South Wales prisons. Drug and Alcohol Review, 17, 153–158.

Humphreys, K. (2004). Circles of recovery: Self-help organizations for addictions. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

McKeganey, N., Bloor. M., Robertson M., Neale J., annd MacDougall J., (2006).Abstinence and drug abuse treatment: Results from the Drug Outcome Research in Scotland study. Drugs: education, prevention and policy,13(6): 537–550

Strang, J., McCambridge, J., Best, D., Beswick, T., Bearn, J., Rees, S., & Gossop, M. (2003). Loss of tolerance and overdose mortality after inpatient opiate detoxification: Follow-up study. British Medical Journal, 326, 559–560.

Article published on 06/12/2020 by PCUG Addiction Treatment