Key to improving knowledge dissemination will be cooperation and collaboration across federal agencies, states, professional organizations, and consumer groups, among others. The committee recommends two general approaches to establish the needed collaboration.
RECOMMENDATION 7. CSAT, NIDA, NIAAA, and AHCPR are the federal agencies that should develop formal collaborations, where appropriate, to synthesize research, reduce the barriers to knowledge transfer, and provide updated information about drug and alcohol treatment strategies to purchasers of health care.
A variety of approaches could be utilized to accomplish these goals. For example, expert panels of investigators, practitioners, program administrators, policymakers, and consumers could be convened by NIDA, NIAAA, and CSAT to generate up-to-date consensus recommendations for community-based drug and alcohol treatment programs based on current research. NIDA-, NIAAA-, and AHCPR-sponsored research on drug treatment knowledge dissemination would help to reduce barriers to the transfer of treatment knowledge and encourage treatment programs and policymakers to adopt proven treatments. Research findings need to be prepared in a form and disseminated within channels that enhance availability and acceptability to community-based treatment programs—especially front-line treatment staff. Continued support for and improvement of electronic and print publications directed to treatment programs and consumers is necessary, and other media, such as public access television should be considered.
CSAT, NIDA, and NIAAA also have an important role in the development of information to enable purchasers of care to take research findings into account explicitly in making purchasing decisions. At the same time, purchasers should develop treatment criteria that ensure treatments of proven effectiveness are adequately funded and should consider withholding funding when the science base shows the treatment to be unequivocally ineffective.
RECOMMENDATION 8. CSAT, in collaboration with state substance abuse authorities, professional organizations, and consumer organizations in the addiction field, should continue the development of evidence-based treatment recommendations (including consideration of short- and long-term outcomes) for use by clinicians of all disciplines involved in the treatment of drug and alcohol use disorders.
To ensure that these treatment recommendations have a positive impact on health care, these agencies and groups should work to encourage