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The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction from the National Institute on Drug Abuse Archives of the National Institute on Drug Abuse web site
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National Institute on Drug Abuse

Behavioral Therapies Development Program


" establish NIDA's ongoing commitment to research on behavioral therapies for the treatment of drug abuse and dependence."


Behavioral interventions are the most common, and sometimes the only, treatments administered to individuals with drug addiction. Even where pharmacological treatment approaches are available, behavioral interventions are an integral component of treatment.

The Behavioral Therapies Development Program (BTDP) was established by NIDA's Treatment Research Branch to develop new and enhance the efficacy of existing behavioral treatments for drug abuse and dependence. Psychotherapies, behavior therapies, cognitive therapies, family therapies and counseling strategies are among the approaches currently being studied under this program.


  • To develop and establish the efficacy of promising behavioral therapies for the treatment of drug addiction and abuse;

  • To determine how and why a particular behavioral intervention is effective.

  • To develop and test behavioral interventions to reduce AIDS risk behaviors in drug treatment populations; and,

  • To ultimately disseminate efficacious behavioral interventions to practitioners in the field.

Stages of Research

The Behavioral Therapies Development Program consists of three stages of research, each representing a necessary stage of development.

Stage I Early Therapy Development

The development of new behavioral therapies based upon basic behavioral science is part of Stage I research.

Stage II Efficacy Testing

Stage II, midstage therapy development research, consists of efficacy testing of promising behavioral therapies. Stage II research is also aimed at determining the mechanism of action of behavioral therapies. Studies examining the efficacy of individual, group, or family behavioral therapies and attempts to determine which therapies are best for which individuals and under what conditions, are considered Stage II research.

Stage III Transportability

Stage III research consists of studies to test the transportability of behavioral therapies and AIDS risk reduction interventions to the community. Stage III research may involve determining the best ways to train community counselors or therapists. Stage III research may also test whether an intervention shown to be efficacious in a highly controlled setting can still be effective when transferred to community-based treatment programs.

[Behavioral Therapies Development Program Index]

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