Legislating clinical practice: Counselor responses to an evidence-based practice mandate

Traci Rieckmann, Luke Bergmann, Caitlin Rasplica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The demand to connect research findings with clinical practice for patients with substance use disorders has accelerated state and federal efforts focused on implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs). One unique state driven strategy is Oregon's Evidence-Based Practice mandate, which ties state funds to specific treatment practices. Clinicians play an essential role in implementation of shifts in practice patterns and use of EBPs, but little is understood about how legislative efforts impact clinicians' sentiments and decision-making. This study presents longitudinal data from focus groups and interviews completed during the planning phase (n = 66) and early implementation of the mandate (n = 73) to investigate provider attitudes toward this policy change. Results reflect three emergent themes: (1) concern about retaining individualized treatment and clinical latitude, (2) distrust of government involvement in clinical care, and (3) the need for accountability and credibility for the field. We conclude with recommendations for state agencies considering EBP mandates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-39
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of psychoactive drugs
Issue number1 SUPPLIMENT
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Counselors
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Implementation
  • Legislation
  • Policy mandate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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