Are the twelve steps more acceptable to drug users than to drinkers?

D. W. Best, J. C. Harris, M. Gossop, V. C. Manning, L. H. Man, J. Marshall, J. Bearn, J. Strang

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22 Citations (Scopus)


The present study is a cross-sectional interview-based investigation comparing experiences of and attitudes towards Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) in a sample of 200 patients attending inpatient substance misuse detoxification services. Two hundred consecutive admissions were recruited; 100 each from one drug and one alcohol in-patient treatment service in which attendance at AA/NA was a voluntary adjunct to a generic treatment programme. Although there were no differences in the history of AA/NA attendance, the drug users (who were on average younger) reported significantly more positive attitudes towards AA/NA, more willingness to attend during their in-patient treatment and greater intention to attend following completion of their detoxification. In particular, despite no differences in spiritual/religious orientation, the drug users reported more positive views of the Twelve Steps. As AA/NA remain popular and accessible forms of substance misuse support, it is critical that we develop a clearer understanding of their impact and of the scope for their integration with generic forms of substance misuse treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Addiction Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Detoxification
  • Integration
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Twelve Steps

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