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Addiction mortality and a 9-year longitudinal study of 1,326 adults entering substance treatment

A shift in approach of substance abuse treatment may be beneficial
The timing and approach for substance abuse treatment aimed at reducing abstinence and mortality rates are found to be significant influencers in success rates, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Results indicate the need to shift the addiction treatment field from an acute care model to a chronic disease management paradigm.
Researchers examined the relationship between substance abuse treatment, abstinence and mortality in a sample of individuals entering treatment and estimated overall mortality rates and the extent to which they varied according to demographic, clinical severity and treatment variables. They used data from a on the west side of Chicago of whom 131 died (nine percent of total sample group). In order to predict mortality rates, baseline predictors of initial and long-term response and substance abuse patterns were used. They found that the likelihood of mortality decreased directly as the total number of treatment episodes increased but increased with increasing percentage of time in treatment. In addition, the likelihood of sustained abstinence increased with increases in the number of treatment episodes in the first six months.
The study’s authors conclude, “Contrary to many current managed care practices, our findings indicate the need for more aggressive screening, early intervention, adequate initial treatment, ongoing monitoring, disease management skills, and better linkage to recovery support services and mutual aid groups that help sustain recovery.”
[From: “Surviving Drug Addiction: The Effect of Treatment and Abstinence on Mortality.” ].

Newswise — The articles below will be published online February 17, 2011, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look” at http://www.ajph.org/first_look.shmtl, and they are currently scheduled to appear in the April 2011 print issue of the Journal.

“First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue.

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