1972: Wen, Hsiang-Lai in Hong Kong discovered by chance that needles inserted in the ear – intended to be used as a preoperative anesthetic – abated physical withdrawal symptoms from opium.
1973: Wen and Cheung publish their results of treating 40 heroin and opium addicts with electropotentiated ear acupuncture in the Asian Journal of Medicine. The New York Times also ran an article on these findings including this quote from… Wen, “We don’t claim it’s a cure for drug addiction. If we can treat the withdrawal symptoms, make the patient more comfortable, and alleviate their suffering, then we have achieved something. Our treatment is not the complete answer to drug addiction.”
1974: Lincoln Hospital Detox Program, Bronx NY, an outpatient methadone clinic since 1970 began using the Wen protocol. Michael O. Smith, MD a psychiatrist and medical director of Lincoln Detox Program began working with the acupuncture clinic.
1982: Smith, et al, published an article in The American Journal of Acupuncture describing the five ear points used in their work as well as points in the hands and feet for particular symptoms.
1985: The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) is founded and incorporated by Michael Smith, MD and others to promote education and training of chemical dependency clinicians in the NADA ear acupuncture protocol. The term acudetox is given to this treatment.
1986: Fr. Thomas Edward Gafney, SJ established NADA-style program in Katmandu. As its first organizational activity, NADA conducted trainings at the Crow Agency and Pine Ridge Indian reservations.
1987: Bulluck, Culliton and Olander published research indicating the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating chronic addiction. Portland Addictions Acupuncture Center established by David Eisen, LAc in Portland Oregon.
1989: Acudetox program initiated for jailed drug-offenders in Miami. This was followed shortly after by the opening of the Miami Drug Court with the Hon. Stanley Goldstein sitting on the bench. The State of New York adopted the first statute to allow non-acupuncturist ADSes to perform the Acudetox technique.
1991: NADA held its first large-scale conference in Santa Barbara, CA. NADA-UK formed by John Tindell and Margaret Pinnington. First NADA Europe meeting held in Sweden with representatives attending from The United Kingdom, Germany, UK, Finland, Hungary, Russia and Sweden.
1993: The charter issue of Guidepoints was published. An Acudetox program was inaugurated at the Bronx Psychiatric Hospital. The first National Drug Court Conference was held in Miami.
1994: The Oregon Gambling Treatment Program initiated an Acudetox program. Alex Brumbaugh published Transformation and Recovery. 8th Special Report to Congress on Alcohol and Health mentioned acupuncture as a potential treatment modality. NADA issued its first training manual.
1995: NADA issued its initial list of 34 Registered Trainers. Ellinor Mitchell published Fighting Drub Abuse with Acupuncture (now out of print). NADA-UK began training “substance misuse teams” in Her Majesties Prisons, which resulted almost immediately in an 80% reduction of violent acts. Michael Smith, MD received first National Leadership Award from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
1996: Treatment Improvement Protocol Series 19 (TIP 19) published by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) of The National Institutes of Health gave modest support for the use of acupuncture in opiate detoxification. GMHC released Points to Change video, which became a staple of NADA trainings. The first Acudetox web page went online.
1997: The National Institutes of Health published Acupuncture. NIH Consensus Statement that includes the conclusion, “There are other situations such as addiction, … in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program.”
1998: Encyclopedia Britannica Medical and Health Annual published an article on Acudetox authored by Michael O Smith, MD. The “Lessons Learned” series of essays by Claudia Voyles, LAc began appearing in Guidepoints.
1999: The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment published an article by Schwartz, et al, on the value of acupuncture in substance abuse treatment.
2000: The New York State Office of Mental Health formally added Acudetox standards to state regulations. Jim Byrne, a volunteer from Lincoln Recovery, began NADA Ireland.
2001: Acudetox training capability established in India and Thailand for Burmese refugee camps. After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, an Acudetox for terrorism survivors program began in Manhattan providing over 1,000 treatments in the first 10 days and continued through 2007.
2002: Pan-African Projects brought NADA treatments to Uganda and surrounding regions. Transformation and Recovery had its second printing. The first methodologically sound NADA treatment report on smoking cessation with positive results appeared in American Journal of Public Health. The US Government reported 736 certified addictions treatment programs in the US offered acupuncture. Members of NADA Italy completed a study of smoking cessation.
2003: Substance Misuse Program in UK expanded to over 130 correctional facilities. NADA-style treatments in a residential program for street children in Peru expanded. Similar programs in Mexico City and Philippines also expanded services. Homeward Bound, Inc becomes a Training Center for NADA
2005: NADA members aided in Gulf Coast recovery efforts after hurricanes Katrina and Rita and in Kashmir following earthquakes. In Israel, NADA-style treatments expanded into several clinical institutions. Chiclayo Peru and Tijuana Mexico have formal training In Medical Schools/ Universities for MD, Ph. D, and RNs’
2005: Warren Whitfield, a volunteer addiction counsellor from South Africa hears about Acudetox an the results that are being achieved at Lincoln Recovery Centre South Bronx. Whitfield goes to Huntsville Alabama where he qualifies as an Acudetox specialist under Dr. JB Richards. Later he goes to Lincoln Recovery and qualifies as a Registered ADS Trainer.
2006: CSAT updated TIP 19 with TIP 45, which contains several sections discussing the use of acupuncture in detoxification and substance abuse treatment).
2006: The Addiction Action Campaign is started by Warren Whitfield in South Africa as Whitfield recognizes the epidemic of addiction in his country.
2010: The AHPCSA unanimously agrees to support The Addiction Action Campaign’s submission to have Acudetox recognized as its own profession under Acupuncture, and supports the establishment of NADA South Africa. Dr. Michael Smith asks Whitfield to start NADA S.A. and a new chapter in affordable addiction detoxification in South Africa begins. http://www.acudetox.org.za/
2010: NADA S.A. is formed using the principles and “Spirit of NADA” worldwide as its guide.
2011: Whitfield begins training Acudetox specialists in South Africa national level.
2014: 52 Trained NADA ADS’s in 3 years. NADA SA sets a new goal to train 5000 new ADS’s by 2024.