The prevalence and appropriateness of acupuncture for addictions is well established. The US federal government’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (2007), the United Nations (2006), the State of New Mexico (Bigelow, 2008), as well as the US Department of Defense/Veteran’s Af- fairs (2010) have each published best practice guidelines that address the value of acupuncture for chemical dependency. Federal statistics (SAMHSA, 2000) show that over 500 addictions programs in the US use some form of acupuncture. A more recent estimate by Reuben et al. (2005) determined that at least 1500 addictions programs worldwide use some form of acupuncture for addictions. In Denmark, the NADA protocol is one of the most prevalent forms of Complementary and Alternative Medicine modalities used within rehabilitation programs (Skovgaard, la Cour, & Kristensen 2012). The evidence base for the adjunctive use of the NADA protocol for addictions continues to grow. Studies published in peer-reviewed journals support the adjunctive use of the NADA protocol for heroin, alcohol and cocaine addictions treatment (Bergdahl et al., 2012 Santasiero & Neussle, 2007, Russell, Sharp and Gilbertson 2000, Avants, Margolin, Holford, & Kosten, 2000, Shwartz, Saitz, Mulvey & Brannigan, 1999, Washburn, et al., 1993, Bullock, Culliton, Olander, 1989, Bullock, Ulmen, Culliton, & Olander, 1987,) as well as nicotine addictions (White, Rampes, Liu, Stead, & Campbell, 2011, Bier, Wilson, Studt, Shakleton, 2002, Stuyt & Meeker, 2006, He, Medbe, & Hostmark, 2001, He, Berg, & Hostmark, 1997). Recent studies by Chang, Sommers, & Hertz (2010), and Carter, Olshan-Perlmutter, Norton, & Smith (2011) demonstrate that the NADA protocol in addition to standard care is significantly better than standard addictions care alone. One observational study (Janssen, Demores & Whynot 2005) demonstrated the value of the NADA protocol for people with addictions problems within a harm reduction settings.
The use of ear acupuncture within behavioral health/psychiatric care has expanded in recent years, particularly within US and Indian military units (Niemtzow, 2011, Smith, 2012), European and US prisons and psychiatric hospitals (Smith, Carter, Landgren, & Stuyt, 2011). A national survey in Sweden found that the NADA protocol is widely used in public psychiatric programs (Lindell & Ek, 2010). An estimated 130 prisons in Europe offer the NADA protocol for inmates, with treatments provided by over 500 NADA-trained correctional staff (Smith et al., 2011). Acupuncture continues to be accepted within mainstream psychiatric treatment in the US. Yale Medical School has established a NADA training program for psychiatric residents (Bruce, 2011). The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense Evidence Based Practice Guidelines (2010) assigns a “good quality” of evidence to support the use of acupuncture to treat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including symptoms of pain, insomnia, depression and addictions issues. Standardized ear protocols are applied for trauma and pain by mainstream military medics in the US (Niemtzow, Litscher, Burns, & Helms, 2009, Niemtzow et al., 2008, Niemtzow, 2011, Belard & Pock, 2011, Helms et al., 2011). A number of studies support the adjunctive use of the NADA protocol for non-addictions programs within psychiatric hospital, mental health, and prison settings (Lemaire & Gonzalez, 2011, Payer, Ots, Marktl, Pfeifer, & Lehofer, 2007, Berman, Lundberg, Krook, & Gyllenhammar, 2004, Nixon, Cheng, & Cloutier, 2003, Berman & Lundberg 2002). Carter et al. (2011), though conducted within an addictions recovery setting, demonstrated how the NADA protocol alleviates a number of different common health symptoms. Additionally, several published qualitative reports (Cole & Yarberry, 2011, Yarberry, 2010), program evaluations (DARE 2011), acupuncture field reports (Dolan & Menolascino, 2010, Sommers & Porter, 2011) and news stories (Kocherga 2012, Scudder, 2012) demonstrate the value of the NADA protocol as a disaster relief/humanitarian aid intervention for first responders as well as populations affected by violence and trauma. Preliminary reports on the Military Stress Recovery Project’s numerous clinics around the US demonstrate that the NADA protocol can assist veterans with a variety of psychiatric symptoms (Duda Harris, 2012).
The NADA protocol has been used as an adjunctive care and self-help support modality for people with immune and blood disorders, including sickle cell disease, AIDS/HIV, and cancer. Programs using the NADA protocol have been established in the Sickle Cell Support Group of Atlanta, Quest Center for Integrative Health’s breast cancer and HIV programs in Portland, and the University of South Carolina Medical School. Two recent studies have demonstrated preliminary evidence for the use of the NADA protocol as part of cancer therapy (Valois, Young, Robinson, McCourt, & Maher, 2012, Harding, Harris, & Chadwich, 2008).