Smart UK is dedicated to evidence based practice. There have been numerous research projects looking at the efficacy of auricular acupuncture, As long ago as 1975 Wen et al compared drug abstinence in an ear acupuncture group and a methadone group. The ear acupuncture group were reported to be nearly twice as likely to be free of drugs at one year (51% Aac v 29% methadone).

However none of the research so far is really adequate. The best so far has been our own research with Michael Wheatley in Maximum security prisons, and evaluated by the criminology department of Cambridge University. We are looking forward to the next phase of our scientifically focused research in 2017.

Bier et al
Use of auricular acupuncture with smoking cessation programmes.

Ackerman 2003 Review
The importance of the therapeutic alliance between patient and counsellers.

Margolin et al
Ear acupuncture shows longevity of abstinence and the merits of incorporating auricular acupuncture as an adjunct to other psychosocial treatment programmes.

Lipton et al (1994)
Compared true ear acupuncture to sham, both in conjunction with counselling and found 50% tested negative urines during the first month of treatment compared to 24%

Wheatley 2005
Most recent UK based research carried out in conjunction with Maximum Security Prisons, Cambridge University and SMART UK.

Full presentation available in email format directly from SMART UK – call 01926 311912 or email for reply to

Bullock 1987
Pilot trial in relation to use of auricular acupuncture with patients with alcohol dependence.

Liption 1994
Trial to evaluate the alleviation of withdrawal symptoms using Auricular Acupuncture

McLellan 2000
The reality of chronic addiction as a medical disease.

Bullock 2002
Supports the use auricular acupuncture for alcohol dependence.

Washburn et al (1993)
Compared true ear acupuncture to sham acupuncture for heroin detoxification. Those assigned true acupuncture faired much better than those who received sham acupuncture

Washburn et al (1993)
Compared true ear acupuncture to sham acupuncture. Those assigned true acupuncture attended the clinic more, reported less heroin use, had less evidence of drug use in urine samples and stayed in treatment longer than those assigned sham acupuncture.compared true ear acupuncture to sham acupuncture.