KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDES ABOUT PHARMACOTHERAPY FOR ALCOHOLISM: A SURVEY OF COUNSELORS AND ADMINISTRATORS IN COMMUNITY-BASED ADDICTION TREATMENT CENTRES

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Abstract

Aims

Medications, when combined with psychosocial therapy, can improve treatment outcomes in alcoholics; however, medications are not widely utilized in community-based addiction treatment centres. Of interest is how non-medical addiction treatment professionals in these facilities view adjunctive pharmacotherapies for alcoholism. The present report focuses on baseline data collected during the course of an educational intervention project and explores predictors of positive attitudes about adjunctive pharmacotherapies among community addiction counselors and administrators.

Methods

Questionnaires were administered to 84 counselors and administrators at six community-based addiction treatment centres in South Carolina. Demographic data were collected, and knowledge and attitudes regarding the value of pharmacotherapies in the treatment of alcoholism were assessed. Correlation coefficients were explored, and follow-up multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine variables that predict scores reflecting the degree to which one values adjunctive pharmacotherapies for alcoholism.

Results

Respondents had little knowledge of naltrexone, with average test scores reflecting no better than chance performance. In addition, most participants believed that adjunctive pharmacotherapy is ineffectual. Higher valuation of adjunctive pharmacotherapy was related to knowledge about naltrexone, having a post-baccalaureate degree, and years of experience in the addictions treatment field.

Conclusions

These data support that more widespread use of adjunctive pharmacotherapy for alcoholism may be impeded by the fact that addictions counselors, who are often the first contact for treatment-seeking individuals, have a lack of knowledge and a lack of confidence in the effectiveness of such treatments. Directed educational interventions are warranted for this population.

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