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Public Health Rep. 1988 Nov-Dec;103(6):605-11.

Alcoholism treatment service systems: a health services research perspective.

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Treatment Research Branch, NIAAA, Rockville, MD 20852.


This article examines the role of health services research in alcoholism treatment. Alcoholism services research has only recently emerged as a self-defined discipline. Alcoholism services research can be grouped into five classifications: a) descriptive studies of resources for alcoholism treatment and of the use or cost of these services, b) estimates of the need or demand for alcohol services in the population or in particular subpopulations, c) studies of the costs or cost-effectiveness of alcoholism treatment or of alternative treatments, d) studies of the possible "cost-offsets" of treating alcoholism, and e) studies that examine strategies for financing and reimbursement for alcoholism treatment. Research is needed to determine how alcoholism treatment services are now delivered, who uses these services, how treatment setting and organization affect service delivery, who pays for alcoholism treatment, and how reimbursement policies affect the delivery of alcoholism services. Research on large-scale social issues is also needed, such as the effects of warning labels appearing on alcoholic beverage containers or estimates of the overall cost to society of alcohol abuse.

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