Improving Addiction Treatment with The University of Wisconsin – Madison

University of Wisconsin-Madison based program aims to better drug treatment

Green-Milon’s apparent success in overcoming her addictions is all too rare, experts say. Only about a tenth of the 24 million Americans who need drug treatment get it, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and at least half of them relapse.

Part of the challenge, scientists say, is that addiction, like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, is a chronic condition; it changes the chemistry of the brain. But there’s another hurdle that’s getting attention: treatment programs, with their voice-mail systems and multiple forms to fill out, aren’t very patient-friendly, especially to people whose lives present many barriers to staying in treatment.

A national program, based at UW-Madison, is trying to change that by bringing process improvements to drug treatment. The Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment, or NIATx, attempts to get addicts into treatment quicker and retain more of them by making the programs more appealing.

24 million Americans need treatment for illicit drug or alcohol problems.
2.5 million get the treatment they need.
The economic cost of substance abuse exceeds $500 billion a year (including alcohol and tobacco; for just illicit drugs, it’s $181 billion).

The NIATx (formerly know as the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison is focused on improving the success of addition treatment.

Use what you learned in Walk-through exercises (See the NIATx Conducting a Walk-through guide for guidance) to identify problems in processes within your organization from the clients’ point of view. Consider changes to test based on that experience. Prior to starting, you should decide the parameters of the change project, including where (e.g., location) you wish to introduce the change, as well which clients (e.g., level of care, population) you expect to impact.

The PDSA Cycle is an efficient way to learn what will work in your organization, and should be the foundation of every change you make. The PDSA Cycle begins with a Plan, and ends with Action based on the learning gained from the Plan, Do, and Study phases of the cycle

They also offer many case studies on improvement successes by treatment centers.

Related: How Effective is Drug Addiction Treatment?Center for Substance Abuse TreatmentMethods to Treat Addiction