Moving Clinical Deliberations on Administrative Discharge in Drug Addiction Treatment Beyond Moral Rhetoric to Empirical Ethics

Izaak L. Williams

Patients’ admission to modern substance use disorder treatment comes with the attendant risk of being discharged from treatment—a widespread practice. This article describes the three mainstream theories of addiction that operate as a reference point for clinicians in reasoning about a decision to discharge a patient from treatment. The extant literature is reviewed to highlight the pathways that patients follow after administrative discharge. Little scientific research has been done to investigate claims and hypotheses about the therapeutic function of AD, which points to the need for empirical ethics to inform clinical addictions practice.


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