Alcoholics Anonymous and the use of medications to prevent relapse: an anonymous survey of member attitudes.

Research Institute on Addictions, Buffalo, New York 14203, USA.
Journal of studies on alcohol 02/2000; 61(1):134-8.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to systematically assess the attitudes of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) members toward the newer medications used to prevent relapse (e.g., naltrexone) and to assess their experiences with medication use, of any type, in AA.
Using media solicitations and snowball sampling techniques, 277 AA members were surveyed anonymously about their attitudes toward use of medication for preventing relapse and their experiences with medication use of any type in AA.
Over half the sample believed the use of relapse-preventing medication either was a good idea or might be a good idea. Only 17% believed an individual should not take it and only 12% would tell another member to stop taking it. Members attending relatively more meetings in the past 3 months had less favorable attitudes toward the medication. Almost a third (29%) reported personally experiencing some pressure to stop a medication (of any type). However, 69% of these continued taking the medication.
The study did not find strong, widespread negative attitudes toward medication for preventing relapse among AA members. Nevertheless, some discouragement of medication use does occur in AA. Though most AA members apparently resist pressure to stop a medication, when medication is prescribed a need exists to integrate it within the philosophy of 12-step treatment programs.

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