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The Clinical and Public Health Utility of Mutual Aid Organizations in Addressing Addiction: What Does the Science Tell Us?

Activity Type:

  • On Demand

Release Date: 4/23/2019

Expiration Date: 4/23/2022

  • AMA PRA Category 1: 1
  • Participation: 1



Twelve-step based treatments and related community mutual-aid organizations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), to which patients are referred, have come under scrutiny and criticism in the press and populat media in recent years being branded as "outdated" and "not evidence based". Polemical debates have raged, fueled by confusion about the state of the science on these treatment and recovery support approaches or misrepresentation of existing research. This activity will present results from comprehensive, gold-standard, reviews of the scientific clinical literature, investigate the health care cost savings obtainable by implementing mutual-aid facilitation approaches in clinical settings, and discuss the implications for clinical practice, addiction treatment and public health broadly.

Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by grant no. 5U79TI026556-03 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


  • General Member - Free
  • Resident-Fellow Member - Free
  • Medical Student Member - Free
  • Non-Member - Free

Educational Objectives

  • Describe the state of evidence on the efficacy of mutual-aid for enhancing clinical outcomes for opioid and other substance use disorders
  • Detail the magnitude of the potential health cost savings that can be dervied from prescribing and facilitating mutual-aid participation in treatment settings
  • List three major mechanisms through which mutual-aid organizations confer therapeutic benefit

Target Audience

Physicians who have a waiver to treat opioid use disorder in an office-based setting and other interested clinicians.

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 1 hour
Begin Date: April 23, 2019
End Date: April 23, 2022

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the evaluation. A multiple-choice quiz is provided based on the content. A passing score of 75% must be achieved. Retakes are available for the test. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the completion date and hours earned. 

Continuing Education Credit

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The APA designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures


  • John F. Kelly, PhD, Elizabeth R. Spallin Associate Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Program Planners

  • John A. Renner, Jr., M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine; Director, Addiction Psychiatry Residency Training, Boston University Medical Center and VA Boston Healthcare System. Disclosure: Stockholder: Johnson & Johnson and General Electric. 
  • Eunice Maize, Program Manager, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no finanical relationships with commercial interests.
  • Rachel Trusty, Program Manager, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no finanical relationships with commercial interests.
  • Tristan Gorrindo, M.D., Division Director, Department of Education, American Psychiatric Association, Reports no finanical relationships with commercial interests.

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

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Hardware/Software Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using Internet Explorer 8+, Mozilla Firefox 3+, Safari 4+. This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Flash Player: Adobe Flash Player 10.3+ 
  • Browser: Firefox (latest version), Internet Explorer 8.0+, Safari 7.0+, Microsoft Edge (latest version) or Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows XP+ or Mac OS X 10.4+ 
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: 500-MHz Pentium II; Windows XP or higher; 128 MB RAM; Video Card at least 64MB of video memory; Macromedia Flash Player 10.3 or higher; Sound Card at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh:Mac OS X 10.4+ or higher with latest updates installed; 1.83MHz Intel Core Duo or faster; RAM: 128MB or more; Video Card: at least 64MB of video memory; Sound Card: at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

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