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NIDA Research Report on Therapeutic Community

Therapeutic Community

From the Director

Each year, therapeutic communities (TCs) serve tens of thousands of people with varying degrees of drug problems, many of whom also have complex social and psychological problems. Research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has helped document the important role TCs serve in treating individuals with drug-related problems.

Further research is being conducted on the treatment processes in TCs to better understand how TCs work. Links between treatment elements, experiences, and outcomes need to be further studied to fully appreciate and enhance the con-tributions of TCs. NIDA's research program is currently focused on expanding our knowledge of the TC treatment process and improving our understanding of organizational and management strategies to deliver more effective and efficient treatment services.

This Research Report is one of several aimed at providing information on approaches and modalities used to prevent and treat drug abuse. Based on over 30 years of scientific inquiry and observation, this report addresses some of the most frequently asked questions about TCs. Federal and other national resources are listed at the end of the report.

It is hoped that this Research Report will help establish a common framework and understanding about TCs for health care providers, researchers, policymakers, and individuals and their families in need of treatment for drug-related problems.

Glen R. Hanson, Ph.D., D.D.S.
Acting Director
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Printed 2002

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This report is also available in PDF format, Therapeutic Community, [PDF format]

Also Available in Spanish

All materials appearing in the Research Report Series are in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission from NIDA. Citation of the source is appreciated.


Letter from the Director

What is a therapeutic community?

How beneficial are therapeutic communities in treating drug addiction?

Who receives treatment in a therapeutic community?

What is the typical length of treatment in a therapeutic community?

What are the fundamental components of therapeutic communities?

How are therapeutic communities structured?

How is treatment provided in a therapeutic community?

Can therapeutic communities treat populations with special needs?

How else can therapeutic communities be modified?

Resources and References


Therapeutic Community Research Report Cover

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