Cocaine Treatment:

Early Results From Various Approaches

HEHS-96-80: Published: Jun 7, 1996. Publicly Released: Jun 7, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the extent to which federally funded cocaine treatment therapies have proven successful and additional research initiatives that are needed to increase knowledge of cocaine treatment effectiveness.

GAO found that: (1) cocaine treatment research is still in its early stages; (2) preliminary study results have shown that relapse prevention, community reinforcement and contingency management, and neurobehavioral therapy may produce prolonged periods of abstinence among cocaine users; (3) relapse prevention programs have the highest abstinence rates, followed by community reinforcement and neurobehavioral programs; (4) community reinforcement programs have the highest retention rates, followed by relapse prevention and neurobehavioral programs; (5) pharmacological agents have not proven to be consistently effective in preventing cocaine use, and none have been submitted for Food and Drug Administration approval; (6) animal researchers have demonstrated the positive effects of a new immunization procedure in blocking the stimulant effects of cocaine; (7) few researchers have assessed the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment, but some research findings are favorable; and (8) experts believe that more rigorous treatment evaluation studies that focus on important treatment components, appropriate treatment intensities and durations, and clients' readiness and motivation for treatment are needed before standard cocaine treatment protocols can be formulated.

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