psychosocial interventions, pharmacotherapy, and integrated service delivery approaches. Several approaches have been shown in other fields to successfully close the gaps between treatment, research, and policy and there are models that could be applied more widely in the future.
Because providers and payers are often unaware of the latests research, the committee found a pressing need to create consensus in the field about which treatments have been proven to be effective and which have been proven to be ineffective. Further, the research agendas of the federal agencies should continue to be fueled by agreement in the field on which models have not received adequate study. The fruits of this consensus process should be widely distributed.
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.