The substance abuse treatment field has made impressive advances in researching
and identifying "best practices." These advances have provided practitioners
with rigorously evaluated and scientifically supported guidelines and methodologies
for improving cost effectiveness and program quality. Ultimately, they have
resulted in improved outcomes for clients and participants.
A best practice can be defined as: programs, services or processes that
research or expert opinion has suggested to be effective (CAN, 2000).
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Benefits of Best Practices
The use of best practices can provide numerous benefits for the purchaser,
provider, and most importantly, the population served. The Substance Abuse
Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and NIDA have provided funding
for numerous studies and demonstration projects, which have produced the
empirical evidence necessary for best practice recommendation and support.
Benefits of best practice implementation include:
- More accurate estimates of program/unit cost;
- Improved and sustained outcomes;
- Improved community collaboration and system integration; and
- Increased interest and investment by the community.
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