VISTAS Effective Counseling Interventions, Tools, and Techniques

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Is There a Magic Bullet? Pharmacologically Assisted Addiction Management: What Counselors Should Know

Benjamin P. Kelch


Pharmacologically assisted addiction management (PAAM) has been an important adjunct to addiction treatment for years. PAAM is a natural outgrowth of the earliest attempts at palliative care (i.e., to relieve withdrawal symptoms). Once it was demonstrated that withdrawal symptoms could be relieved with other pharmacologic agents, the search was on to give clients an “edge” in the recovery process. It is important for the counselor to have a rudimentary knowledge of these agents for several reasons. The first is that with the advent of managed care, length of stays in the primary treatment center have significantly shortened and many of the clients are being referred to counselors in the community for follow-up care. Counselors will encounter many of these clients who have been placed on PAAM agents while in the treatment center and need to be maintained on these agents for a minimum of 6 months after discharge. Additionally, counselors can play a vital role in assisting with medication compliance, as well as client education.

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