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