Acupuncture Continuing Education

Santa Barbara Goes Detox with Acupuncture

The Santa Barbara City Council, California, has approved $865,000 for an alcohol and drug abuse recovery center that uses acupuncture detox protocols as one of its treatment modalities. The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA) will operate the 12-bed center in the West Downtown area of Santa Barbara. CADA incorporates group therapy and acupuncture as part of its substance abuse program. Notably, CADA uses licensed acupuncturists to perform acupuncture services. Licensed acupuncturists are also responsible for the administration of a special detox herbal formula for recovering addicts. The CADA program is modeled after the Lincoln Hospital Division of Substance Abuse (Bronx, New York) program.

Each participant stays at the detox center for two weeks and receives one-on-one counseling, group therapy, herbal medicine, and acupuncture. The Clean and Sober Court system, developed in cooperation with Santa Barbara Fighting Back and the Santa Barbara Police Department, gives nonviolent offenders the option to participate in six months of drug rehabilitation instead of incarceration and may include the option to participate in the new drug detox center’s program.

The Santa Barbara, California program uses only licensed acupuncturists whereas a recent bill passed in the Colorado legislature, supported by state Rep. Claire Levy of Boulder, moves to allow acupuncture to be performed by psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, MDs, chiropractors, nurses, physician assistants, and addiction counselors. Questions regarding the efficacy of acupuncture performed by minimally trained practitioners remains a concern regarding the proposed Colorado legislation because it opens loopholes for the non-acupuncturist practitioners to legally to expand their use of acupuncture to a wide variety of mental and behavioral disorders with only 70 hours of training.