A new research partnership has been forged to investigate the efficiency of the Internet as a medium for treating people with alcohol and drug problems.

California-based, eGetgoing, an accredited provider of online treatment for behavioural health problems, will trial its treatment and continuing care programmes with two comparable programmes run on more traditional lines by healthcare services company, Behavioral Healthcare Options.

The study will randomly assign approximately 80 treatment clients to eGetgoing’s or BHO’s programme. Each client will be followed for 15 months and regularly evaluated to assess sobriety, self-esteem, self-disclosure and other relapse related factors

“We entered into this research partnership because we are committed to determining viable options for people with drug and alcohol problems. We look forward to analysing the results,” said BHO’s chief executive officer, Michael Adams.

eGetgoing’s chief clinical officer, Dr Paul Rosenberg, said, “We are eager to put our programme to the test and demonstrate clinically that for many individuals, eGetgoing Internet-based protocols will be very effective.”

eGetgoing, offers anonymity to clients seeking help for their drink or drug problems. The company says its format allows participants to see and hear their counsellor live and enjoy the benefits of science-based group treatment without the barriers of cost, stigma, inconvenience and lack of privacy. It believes that its online programmes complement other forms of treatment by reaching people who would not use traditional treatment options and by offering long term support for people who have had successful traditional therapy.