REHABS WORK: RESEARCH ON SUCCESS
Peter McDermott, a Board member of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, stated in The Observer national newspaper [16 November] that "Residential rehab doesn't actually work very well" alongside other negative comments. After Addiction Today complained to the NTA about the inappropriateness and inaccuracy of these, the NTA asked us to supply research showing that rehabs led to substance-free outcomes.
We are happy to disseminate this information, in which the residential rehabilitation sector has been positively evaluated in large-scale treatment outcome research across the globe. These studies show that rehab is associated with among the highest rates of abstinence, for even the worst cases.
The world's largest, most expensive research into the long-term results of treatment for alcohol dependency. Three methodologies were used, with 12-Step Facilitation having the better results after a 3-year followup study. Click here.
December 2006 saw the publication of Abstinence and drug-abuse treatments: Results from the Drug Outcome Research in Scotland study. It identified the proportion of drug users contacting treatment services who were able to become and stay abstinent 33 months after starting treatment – and identified which services were most closely linked with such drug-free results.
Hot on the heels of Doris came Patterns of sustained heroin abstinence amongst long-term, dependent heroin users: 36 months' findings Australian Treatment Outcomes Study. The results illustrate the importance of stable treatment retention.
The largest UK research into outcomes of drug treatment came from the National Treatment Outcome Research Study, which published Changes in substance use, health and criminal behaviour during the five years after intake.
The NTORS authors note that "Clients in the rehabilitation units included the more chronic, long-term users with the most severe problems. Rehabilitation clients presented with the longest heroin careers, they were more likely to be regular users of stimulants (especially cocaine), and were more likely to have shared injecting equipment. There were also more heavy drinkers among the clients entering the rehabilitation programmes. Rehabilitation clients were more likely to have been actively involved in crime and they had been arrested more often than the other clients."
Note that "abstinence" in rehabs is defined as abstinent from all mood-altering substances including alcohol; in methadone-maintenance services it is defined as abstinence from illicit opiates only – about 40% of MM patients became dependent on alcohol.
THE GUIDE TO REHAB – WHAT REALLY WORKS
20 research facts everyone should know about rehab treatment for alcohol and drugs dependency… In late 1999, Dr David Best, Addiction Today editor Deirdre Boyd and the then-CEO of EATA met to initiate an easy-to-use reference document about addiction treatment which could be used by professionals and general public, and which not only covered the key issues but were based on incontrovertible research. Read more here.
The National Treatment Agency's End of Careers survey results can be read here:
The only type of formal treatment service which was a key factor in helping drug users to stay abstinent was rehab, according to these researchers: