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HOT TOPIC 2018 HTM file
Acupuncture: potential value of a ‘theatrical placebo’
One of our selection of hot topics – important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. Asks whether acupuncture helps treat substance use problems and, if it does, whether this is ‘just’ a placebo effect. Is there something valuable here which has not yet been proven to work, or is trying to find proof a dead end?
HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
The ‘explosion’ that never happened; crack and cocaine use in Britain
One of our hot topics – essays on important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. In 1989 a whirlwind of concern was stirred up by a US drug enforcement officer who foresaw a US-style “explosion” of violence associated with the ‘almost instantly addictive’ crack version of cocaine in Britain. That did not happen – but what did, where do those claims stand today, and what of cocaine powder, for decades seen as the ‘champagne set’s’ favourite drug?
REVIEW 2009 HTM file
Traditional medicine in the treatment of drug addiction
A China-North America funding and authorship collaboration has assessed the evidence for the main traditional herbal remedies in addiction treatment, and made a new assessment of the role of acupuncture; generally, 'promising' was most positive verdict it could reach.
REVIEW 2005 PDF file 101Kb
Synthesis of research questions acupuncture for cocaine dependence
Studies which randomly allocated cocaine dependent patients either to a recommended acupuncture procedure or to 'sham acupuncture' found no advantage for the 'real' treatment.
REVIEW 2009 HTM file
Acupuncture for alcohol dependence: a systematic review
An exhaustive multi-country and multi-language trawl for randomised trials of acupuncture in the treatment of alcohol dependence found just 11 studies which overall offered little support for any form of the therapy.
From south London, one of only a handful of randomised studies trialling acupuncture for opiate detoxification adds to the accretion of 'ineffective' verdicts, raising the question of why the treatment continues to be popular.
STUDY 2003 PDF file 160Kb
Failure to replicate positive findings on acupuncture
Using more rigorous methods and larger and more diverse samples, two research teams failed to replicate their previous positive findings on acupuncture in the treatment of alcohol and cocaine dependence respectively.
STUDY 2001 PDF file 148Kb
Acupuncture: effectiveness still in doubt
Two US studies have to an extent contradicted previous pessimistic conclusions about acupuncture treatment for stimulant or alcohol dependence, but only partially and in atypical settings. Evidence remains insufficient to warrant reliance on the therapy.
STUDY 2000 PDF file 117Kb
Acupuncture yet to convince
Three trials which treated alcohol or cocaine dependent patients with acupuncture at sites on the ear recommended for addiction or at nearby 'sham' sites failed to demonstrate an advantage for the recommended sites.