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Substance Abuse Treatment Modalities: Literature Review

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March, 1996

Correctional Research and Development
Correctional Service of Canada

As part of the Classification Study, CSC conducted an extensive review of the literature on approaches and techniques in substance abuse treatment. What follows are brief descriptions of 25 modalities, with a summary of the research evidence on effectiveness for each. This document is being published separately from the main report of the Classification Study, so that it can serve as a resource and reference tool for program delivery staff, program managers or others interested in information on techniques of treatment.

To summarize the results of the review, the following techniques are demonstrated effective: Assertion Training, Controlled Drinking Strategies, Employment Training, Methadone, Provision of Aftercare,Problem Solving, Recognizing High Risk Situations, Relapse Techniques, Social Skills Training.

Table of Contents

Anti-Acohol Drugs

Assertion Training


Confrontation/Encounter Techniques

Controlled Drinking Strategies

Cue Exposure


Drug and Alcohol Education

Employment Training

HIV Prevention/Support

Life Skills Training

Marital/Family Therapy


Nutritional Counselling

Problem Solving

Provision of Aftercare

Psychiatric Care

Psychotherapy or Psychodynamic Techniques

Recognizing High Risk Situations

Recreational Therapy

Relapse Techniques

Social Skills Training


Stress Management/ Relaxation

Surveillance Techniques