Government response to use of illicit drugs has traditionally taken a penal approach to those who use prohibited substances, whereby users who violate narcotics prohibition are punished for their choices. Since the 1940s, however, a growing number of health professionals and policy makers have advocated for a treatment-based, medical approach to addiction, which is sometimes referred to as a group model approach.

As more traditional approaches to proscribe drug use have failed, interest has increased in the group model approach. Response to drug use and addiction, whether individual, institutional, or governmental, often proves problematic because of the high rates of relapse and recidivism regardless of the approach used. Group models of dealing with drug use tend to have a dual focus that stress trained leaders and ...

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