Recovery Housing and Treatment Programs Reduce Relapse among Recovering Opioid Addictshttp://www.addictionjournal.org/viewpressrelease.asp?pr=171
28 February 2012
Opioid-dependent individuals who want
to kick the habit typically begin the road to recovery with
detoxification. But detox is ineffective as a stand-alone treatment,
with relapse rates ranging from 65% to 80% just one month after
discharge. New research published online today in the journal Addiction
reveals that individuals with substance use disorders may be as much as
ten times more likely to stay abstinent when they have access to
drug-free recovery housing and day-treatment programs following detox.
Opioid abuse, which includes the use of illegal substances such as
heroin and the nonmedical use of prescription painkillers like
OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin, has reached epidemic levels in the
United States. According to a November 2011 press release from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the death toll in the
US from overdoses of prescription painkillers has more than tripled in
the past decade, with more than 40 people dying each day. In 2010, 12
million people in the US reported using prescription painkillers for
nonmedical use, according to the CDC's National Survey on Drug Use and
To find out if opioid-dependent individuals achieve higher abstinence
rates given access to recovery housing and day treatment, researchers
from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine followed 243 patients
-- primarily heroin users -- after their release from detox.
Eighty-three patients received 12 weeks of rent-free recovery housing
and were required to remain drug-free during their residency. Eighty
more patients received 12 weeks of recovery housing plus 26 weeks of
outpatient treatment, including cognitive behavioral group therapy,
recreational activities, vocational assistance, and individual
counseling. The final eighty patients received referrals for aftercare
treatment at other community programs. The researchers assessed all
participants at one, three, and six months after detox to see how many
had remained abstinent.
The overall abstinence rate for participants given no housing or
treatment was a disappointing 13%, but patients who received housing
showed a 37% abstinence rate, and among the group that received housing
plus day treatment, 50% were abstinent. At each of the three assessment
points, participants receiving housing plus treatment were twice as
likely to remain abstinent than those receiving housing only, and ten
times more likely to remain abstinent than those receiving no housing or
treatment at all.
In general, the best outcomes came from participants who stayed in
recovery housing the longest, and access to day treatment tended to
promote longer residencies: an average of 49.5 days versus 32.2 days
for housing residents who received no day treatment.
Says lead researcher Michelle Tuten: "It's no surprise that
opioid-dependent individuals stay off drugs longer when they live in a
structured, drug-free environment after finishing detox. Drug-dependent
individuals frequently report housing as their most pressing need. If
we want to help people stay off heroin and stop abusing prescription
painkillers, we need to do more than help them initiate abstinence; we
need to help them maintain abstinence and build a drug-free life style
as well. Improved access to drug-free recovery housing and
day-treatment programs would clearly move us closer to that goal."
-- Ends --
Tuten M., DeFulio A., Jones H.E., and Stitzer M.
Abstinence-contingent recovery housing and reinforcement-based treatment
following opioid detoxification. Addiction, 107: doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03750.x
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The CDC press release referred to in paragraph two, "Prescription
painkiller overdoses at epidemic levels kill more Americans than heroin
and cocaine combined," can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/p1101_flu_pain_killer_overdose.html (accessed 5 January 2012).