How Effective is HAMS?

The HAMS alcohol harm reduction program has been closely modeled on other harm reduction programs which have proven efficacy such as seat belts for automobiles, clean needles for IV drug users, and condoms for safer sex. We also derive a number of our ideas from Allen Marlatt’s relapse prevention strategies. Additionally we use many ideas from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectal behavior Therapy. All of the above have been proven effective in clinical studies which meet the criteria for level A of level B evidence based medicine according to the standards of the UK National Health Service.

HAMS is an extrapolation of level A and level B evidence based approaches–therefore according the UK classification system HAMS approaches are at level B or level C of evidence based medicine. Let us give ourselves a B minus rating overall.

By way of contrast–level A and level B studies of AA such as those by Vaillant and Brandsma and others have demonstrated that AA is NOT effective. The only evidence in favor of AA is at level D– Expert opinion without explicit critical appraisal. Actually the majority of evidence used by AA members to attempt to demonstrate the effectiveness of AA is in the form of personal testimonials. However–according to the standards of evidence based medicine–personal testimonials are not admissible as evidence at all. Therefore, according to the standards of evidence based medicine we must conclude that AA is ineffective.

We at HAMS look forward very eagerly to the day when our approach will be tested with clinical trials and cohort studies. If aspects of HAMS are found ineffective we will readily jettison them and replace them with effective methods instead. Because that is the way that an approach based on science evolves.

Copyright © 2010, The HAMS Harm Reduction Network

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About Kenneth Anderson

Kenneth Anderson is the author of the book How to Change Your Drinking: a Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol. He is also the founder and CEO of The HAMS Harm Reduction Network.
This entry was posted in 12 steps, AA, Alcohol, alcohol harm reduction, effectiveness, evidence based medicine, hams harm reduction network, harm reduction and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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