Drug addiction treatment sees drop in success rate

The proportion of drug users who completed treatment for drug addiction decreased between 1998 and 2002, although the overall number of drug users who entered treatment increased. A British study of the outcome of treatment for drug addiction, published today in the open access journal BMC Public Health, also reveals that drug users were more likely to drop out of treatment if they had been coerced into it by the criminal justice system than if they had entered by other routes.

The authors of the study conclude that efforts to make treatment for drug addiction more accessible have succeeded in getting more people into treatment, but the impact of coercive measures to push drug users into treatment needs further consideration. They write: "recent measures to increase drug treatment participation have speeded up a revolving door both into and out of treatment".

Dr. Caryl Beynon and colleagues from Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, UK, analysed the records of 26,415 anonymous drug users who had entered treatment for drug addiction between 1997 and 2004 in Cheshire and Merseyside, England, UK.

The results of Beynon et al.'s study show that the proportion of individuals who dropped out of treatment increased from 7.2% in 1998 to 9.6% in 2002. Individuals coerced into treatment by the criminal justice system were more likely to drop out of treatment than those referred through other routes. The proportion of drug users who successfully completed treatment decreased from 5.8% in 1998 to 3.5% in 2002, but the proportion of drug users who came back to start treatment again after dropping out of treatment increased from 22.9% in 1998 to 48.6% in 2002.

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Article:
Trends in drop out, drug free discharge and rates of re-presentation: a retrospective cohort study of drug treatment clients in the North West of England. Caryl M Beynon, Mark A Bellis and Jim McVeigh BMC Public Health 2006, (in press)

After the embargo, article available free of charge from the journal website at:
http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpublichealth/

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication (11 August 2006)

This article is available free of charge according to BioMed Central's open access policy

BMC Public Health (http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpublichealth/) is published by BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com), an independent online publishing house committed to providing open access to peer-reviewed biological and medical research.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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