Skip Navigation
What's new What's New  
Help Help    
Home Documents Information
Resources State

This page contains links to external Web sites.
The Treatment Improvement Exchange has no control over their content or availability.

Logo for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment's Treatment Improvement Protocol Series


The Treatment Improvement Protocols (TIPs) are best practice guidelines for the treatment of substance abuse. CSAT's Office of Evaluation, Scientific Analysis, and Synthesis draws on the experience and knowledge of clinical, research, and administrative experts to produce the TIPs, which are distributed to a growing number of facilities and individuals across the country. The audience for the TIPs is expanding beyond public and private substance abuse treatment facilities as alcohol and other drug disorders are increasingly recognized as a major problem.

The TIPs Development Process

The TIPs Editorial Advisory Board, a distinguished group of substance abuse experts and professionals in such related fields as primary care, mental health, and social services, and the State Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Directors generate topics for the TIPs based on the field's current needs for information and guidance.

After selecting a topic, CSAT invites staff from pertinent Federal agencies and national organizations to a Resource Panel that recommends specific areas of focus as well as resources that should be considered in developing the content for the TIP. Soon after that a consensus panel is held: non-Federal experts who are familiar with the topic and are nominated by their peers participate in panel discussions over five days. The information and recommendations on which they reach consensus form the foundation of the TIP. The members of each Consensus Panel represent substance abuse treatment programs, hospitals, community health centers, counseling programs, criminal justice and child welfare agencies, and private practitioners. A panel chair ensures that the guidelines mirror the results of the group's collaboration.

A large and diverse group of experts closely reviews the draft document. Once the changes recommended by the field reviewers have been incorporated, the TIP is prepared for publication. While each TIP strives to include an evidence base for the practices it recommends, CSAT recognizes that the field of substance abuse treatment is evolving, and research frequently lags behind the innovations pioneered in the field. A major goal of each TIP is to convey "front-line" information quickly but responsibly. For this reason, recommendations proffered in the TIP are attributed to either Panelists' clinical experience or the literature. If there is research to suggest a particular approach, citations are provided. Anyone interested in becoming involved in the TIPs development process (as a field reviewer, panelist, or writer) should send email to

Ordering Information

Many TIPs are available online at the SAMHSA Store at (English and Español).