A lottery-funded scheme in Wiltshire has helped more than 600 people cope with drug addiction using acupuncture, a charity has said.
The New Highway charity has used the alternative therapy, alongside coaching, to help addicts in its 10 centres over the last two years.
It said it helped prevent relapses and combat anxiety.
But the NHS said not enough evidence existed to prove the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating drug addiction.
‘Cope with cravings’
New Highway, which was formerly known as Bath Area Drugs Advisory Service, won a £167,000 Big Lottery grant in 2010 to help people with drug and alcohol addictions through acupuncture therapy.
Kevin McAlpine, from the charity, said: “What we’ve seen is that it makes a significant difference with stress and being able to cope with cravings from withdrawal.”
Dr Max Bloomberg, a research fellow at Goldsmiths University of London, is sceptical of the benefits of the therapy.
He believes the care an addict receives when they receive acupuncture treatment is what they respond to.
“How do you tease apart other facts like care versus acupuncture?” Dr Bloomberg said.
“It often isn’t the acupuncture, it’s the lovely atmosphere, it’s the fact that someone really cares.”