What do scientific studies reveal about the accessibility and effectiveness of Narcotics Anonymous for people seeking support for addiction recovery? In April 2020, Marc Galanter (New York University School of Medicine), Keith Humphreys (Stanford University), John Kelly (Harvard Medical School/Recovery Research Institute), and I (Chestnut Health Systems) released a 56-page report addressing this question. The(……)

Since its founding in the mid-twentieth century, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) has emerged as a major addiction recovery support resource, with more than 71,000 weekly NA meetings in 144 countries. But what is known about the effects of NA participation from the standpoint of science? To answer that question, Marc Galanter, Keith Humphreys, John Kelly, and(……)

We recently explored the idea of “recovery cascade”—a sudden surge in personal change that sparks recovery initiation in the heels of past efforts or a collective surge in recovery prevalence at a community or cultural level. While there are examples of the latter in U.S. history (e.g., the explosive growth of the Washingtonian Temperance Society(……)

Investigations into the effects of participation in 12-Step mutual aid groups on long-term recovery outcomes have grown in number and methodological rigor and have evolved from the question of whether such participation exerts positive effects to the question of the precise mechanisms through which such effects are achieved. One of the 12-Step mechanisms of change(……)

Multiple pathways and styles of addiction recovery are evident in the worldwide growth of secular, spiritual, and religious recovery mutual aid organizations as well as in the growing recognition of people achieving recovery outside of the frameworks of professional treatment and peer recovery support communities. Four U.S.-based organizations—Alcoholics Anonymous (181 countries), Narcotics Anonymous (132 countries),(……)

Recent surges in opioid addiction and opioid overdose deaths in the United States have triggered considerable public and professional alarm, including its emergence as an issue in the 2016 Presidential campaign. Public health responses to the rise in opioid-related problems have focused primarily on: 1) suppression of illicit opioid markets, 2) public education on opioid(……)

Investigations into the efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-Step programs have advanced from what was once little more than popular and clinical folklore. Scientific studies have progressed through the stage of weak methodological designs to quite sophisticated studies measuring both the effects of 12-Step mutual aid participation on long-term recovery outcomes and the most(……)

For the past 35 years, the United States has been involved in what many consider to be failed efforts to incarcerate its way out of its addiction problem.  The U.S. prison population has grown from 198,061 in 1971 to more than 1.5 million in 2013. More than 600,000 incarcerated men and women are released back(……)

In 2006, Ernie Kurtz and I co-authored an essay entitled Varieties of Recovery Experience that was published in the International Journal of Self-Help and Self-Care. It was an early attempt to map the growing pathways and styles of long-term addiction recovery.  The proposition that there are multiple pathways of recovery has since become a central mantra(……)