Challenges in the adoption of new pharmacotherapeutics for addiction to alcohol and other drugs

Andrew J. Saxon, Dennis McCarty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

41 Scopus citations


The adoption of pharmacotherapies for the treatment of alcohol and drug use disorders has progressed slowly despite the approval of new and effective medications. This paper begins with overviews of the prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse and dependence, the costs of addiction to the nation, and the value of treatment services. The role of pharmacotherapy in the treatment of addictive diseases is examined, and factors that affect the adoption and use of medications for alcohol and drug treatment are identified and discussed. Investigations that tested the effectiveness of buprenorphine for treatment of opioid dependence in new settings illustrate physician and counselor training and mentorship strategies that may promote the adoption of medications in the treatment of alcohol and drug use disorders. The paper concludes with a discussion of barriers and ways to surmount the barriers and to foster greater use of medications in alcohol and drug treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number1 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Oct 2005



  • Adoption of innovations
  • Buprenorphine
  • Pharmacotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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