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NCJ Number: 81641 Find in a Library
Title: Impact of Legal Coercion on the Treatment of Alcoholism
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues  Volume:12  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1982)  Pages:103-114
Author(s): R W Fagan; N M Fagan
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: No sound empirical evidence exists to indicate that legal coercion is effective in treating the alcoholic who has been referred by the court.
Abstract: Nevertheless, alcohol treatment personnel have come to rely heavily on court referrals to identify alcoholics, to bring them to treatment, and to keep them in treatment. Studies of the effectiveness of legal coercion have generally had weak research designs, characterized by lack of control of groups, lack of random assignment, and invalid measures of treatment success. The studies by Gallant and his colleagues have been methodologically stronger, but have produced only tentative results supporting the effectiveness of legal coercion. The dangers of relying on legal coercion are that individual freedom becomes secondary to alcohol rehabilitation and that the many other variables that may be influencing the treatment attendance and outcome of the court-referred patient can be easily ignored. Alcoholism treatment which conforms to the patient's expectations and promises to meet the patient's needs may make the court-referred patient more willing to attend treatment on a voluntary basis. Researchers and clinicians should identify and evaluate variables that may enhance the attractivenss of alcohol treatment for the court-referred voluntary patient. Sixty-four references are provided. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Alcoholism treatment programs; Court referrals; Involuntary treatment
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