Acupuncture for crack-cocaine detoxification: experimental evaluation of efficacy

J Subst Abuse Treat. May-Jun 1994;11(3):205-15. doi: 10.1016/0740-5472(94)90077-9.


Anecdotal studies have reported acupuncture alleviating the severity of withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine abuse. The efficacy of auricular (ear) acupuncture in reducing cocaine/crack craving and consumption was examined via a single-blind, placebo experiment. One hundred and fifty individuals seeking treatment for cocaine/crack abuse were randomly assigned to receive either experimental or placebo acupuncture treatments. Treatments were provided in an outpatient setting for a one-month period. Placebo treatments involved acupuncture at ear locations not used for drug treatment. Subjects provided urine specimens for drug content analysis after each acupuncture session. Urinalysis results over the one-month study period favored the experimental group. Experimental subjects in treatment over 2 weeks had significantly lower cocaine metabolite levels relative to placebo subjects in treatment for a comparable period. Treatment retention with both groups was similar. Relative to pretreatment usage, a significant decrease in cocaine consumption was reported by both groups. Self-report outcomes did not indicate significant between-groups differences.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Behavior, Addictive / diagnosis
  • Behavior, Addictive / therapy
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Crack Cocaine*
  • Ear
  • Female
  • Heroin Dependence / complications
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome*


  • Crack Cocaine