When confronted with information about errors in the training and testing materials for credentialing addictions counselors, an industry journal, Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly, responds with defensiveness, lies, and distortion of the data.
The reason that study after study finds that heavy drinkers outlive abstainers is that the U.S. definition of heavy drinking is set far too low. When a more reasonable cut off point is chosen we find that abstainers live longer than heavy drinkers as was to be expected.
Since there is now overwhelming scientific evidence that about half of all alcoholics who recover do so by cutting back instead of quitting, why is there such an overwhelming amount of misinformation on the internet about the need for total abstinence? Even from what one might expect to be reliable sources like Harvard Health?
Will power is not the factor that determines whether or not a resolution succeeds or fails. The determining factors are planning, setting doable goals, getting support, and utilizing evidence-based change strategies.
Traditional rehab programs and harm reduction advocates are working together in New York City to save the lives of people who graduate from addiction treatment programs by teaching them about overdose prevention and giving them Narcan (naloxone) kits.
When naltrexone is taken before drinking alcohol it has an 80% success rate at curing Alcohol Dependence. This way of using naltrexone is known as The Sinclair Method and has been adopted as a standard treatment protocol in Finland. So why have so few American physicians and addiction experts ever heard of The Sinclair Method?
In the media, AA groups appear to be led by professionals and are 100% successful at curing the disease of addiction which otherwise leads inevitable to death. In real life the majority of people quit addictions on their own without AA, the efficacy of AA is unproven by scientific studies, and it is a violation of AA's traditions for meetings to be led by professionals.
Syringe exchange programs not only prevent the spread of HIV by providing drug users with clean needles, they also greatly reduce the number of used syringes discarded on the streets and serve to engage drug users in mental health and substance use treatment services.
There are many ways to overcome an addiction. Some people quit entirely, others move from problematic to non-problematic use by adopting safer and reduced use strategies. Some people change all at once while others change gradually via a series of small steps. Most people overcome addictions on their own. Harm reduction is a set of strategies to help keep people safe and alive and to foster and speed natural recovery from addiction. Dead addicts don't recover.