More and more doctors are prescribing the anti-craving drug baclofen to alcoholics, and patients describe a “switch” that suddenly allows them to resist temptation—even as they keep drinking in moderation, Time reports. While some argue this can reduce harm—one drink is better than 10—the approach is at odds with traditional 12-step and cold-turkey methods of dealing with addiction.
Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs involve complete abstinence, and doctors often won’t treat drug users who refuse to quit. Proponents of baclofen say insisting on total sobriety from day one keeps many addicts from getting treatment. More testing is required before baclofen becomes widespread, but according to one doctor, “Patients who can drink small amounts are the exception. My advice is, ‘Don’t risk it.’”