NDRI learns how to increase participation in vocational counseling

Treatment success for substance users is enhanced through employment, with reduced rates of relapse to drug use, criminality, and parole violations. Researchers from National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI) have published a study in the journal Substance Use & Misuse that identifies the factors contributing to higher participation in vocational rehabilitation services.

Sung-Yeon Kang, Stephen Magura, and Laura Blankertz from NDRI joined with Elizabeth Madison and Michael Spinelli to conduct the first scientific study identifying the predictors of engagement in vocational services among patients in methadone treatment. They studied 211 patients in two methadone treatment programs located in New York City. Most of the participants were polysubstance users prior to treatment and almost all were unemployed at the time of the study. The findings indicated that it was often the most "needy" unemployed methadone patients who became more engaged in vocational counseling when it was offered to them. Most importantly, an innovative vocational program offering active outreach, intensive counseling and ongoing support resulted in higher participation than did standard vocational counseling.

Dr. Stephen Magura, the study's Principal Investigator, pointed out: "Employment is a key ingredient in successful long-term outcomes for substance users. And achieving employment must start with strengthening active engagement in vocational counseling."


The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Keywords: employment; engagement; methadone treatment; substance use; vocational counseling; vocational rehabilitation; treatment outcomes.

Substance Use & Misuse, Volume 41, Number 8 (June 2006), pp. 1125 - 1138. Predictors of Engagement in Vocational Counseling for Methadone Treatment Patients. Sung-Yeon Kang, Stephen Magura, Laura Blankertz, Elizabeth Madison, Michael Spinelli

Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, grant number 5R01 DA013596

Last updated: 30 Apr 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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