MET meets the real world: design issues and clinical strategies in the Clinical Trials Network.
The Clinical Trials Network (CTN) represents a major initiative intended to bridge the gap between research and practice in substance abuse treatment by implementing a range of studies evaluating behavioral, pharmacologic, and combined treatments in community-based drug abuse treatment programs across the country. This article describes the development of CTN protocols evaluating the effectiveness of Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Design, training, and implementation challenges associated with conducting a clinical trial of brief behavioral treatments in community programs are discussed. Issues requiring attention included the diversity in treatments offered across sites, heterogeneity in the study sample, and training of clinicians drawn from the staff of community programs to deliver the study treatments.