Self-help organizations for alcohol and drug problems: Toward evidence-based practice and policy

Keith Humphreys, Stephen Wing, Dennis McCarty, John Chappel, Lewi Gallant, Beverly Haberle, A. Thomas Horvath, Lee Ann Kaskutas, Thomas Kirk, Daniel Kivlahan, Alexandre Laudet, Barbara S. McCrady, A. Thomas McLellan, Jon Morgenstern, Mike Townsend, Roger Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


This expert consensus statement reviews evidence on the effectiveness of drug and alcohol self-help groups and presents potential implications for clinicians, treatment program managers and policymakers. Because longitudinal studies associate self-help group involvement with reduced substance use, improved psychosocial functioning, and lessened health care costs, there are humane and practical reasons to develop self-help group supportive policies. Policies described here that could be implemented by clinicians and program managers include making greater use of empirically-validated self-help group referral methods in both specialty and non-specialty treatment settings and developing a menu of locally available self-help group options that are responsive to client's needs, preferences, and cultural background. The workgroup also offered possible self-help supportive policy options (e.g., supporting self-help clearinghouses) for state and federal decision makers. Implementing such policies could strengthen alcohol and drug self-help organizations, and thereby enhance the national response to the serious public health problem of substance abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Effectiveness research
  • Mutual help organizations
  • Policy
  • Self-help groups
  • Twelve steps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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