calendarThe headline says it all:

How We Got Here: Treating Addiction In 28 Days


She says the late Daniel Anderson was one of the primary architects of the “Minnesota model,” which became the prevailing treatment protocol for addiction specialists. At a state hospital in Minnesota in the 1950s, Anderson saw alcoholics living in locked wards, leaving only to be put to work on a farm.

To find a path for them to get sober and leave the hospital, he came up with the 28-day model.

Marvin Ventrell, executive director of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, has studied the model’s history. He says the month-long standard comes from the notion that when “someone is suffering from addiction — and in the days that this began, we’re pretty much talking about alcoholism — it made sense to people that it took about four weeks to stabilize somebody.”

And then, Ventrell says, “It became the norm because the insurance industry was willing to pay for that period of time.”

Now the model has spread to treatment for opioid addiction, even though recovering from addiction to those powerful drugs may require a different method.

Hazelden was brave and correct to admit that their model was inadequate. Unfortunately, adding maintenance medications to a 28 day program doesn’t address the real problem.

However, there is a model that works and the key difference is that it provides treatment of an appropriate quality, intensity and duration followed by years of assertive recovery monitoring and support. (And, we can work on adaptations that get more voluntary participation and don’t cost too much.)

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