Surviving drug addiction: the effect of treatment and abstinence on mortality.

Lighthouse Institute, Chestnut Health Systems, Chicago, IL, USA.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 3.93). 02/2011; 101(4):737-44. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2010.197038
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We examined the relationships between substance abuse treatment, abstinence, and mortality in a sample of individuals entering treatment. We also estimated overall mortality rates and the extent to which they varied according to demographic, clinical severity, and treatment variables.
We used data from a 9-year longitudinal study of 1326 adults entering substance abuse treatment on the west side of Chicago, of whom 131 died (11.0 per 1000 person-years). Baseline predictors, initial and long-term treatment response, and substance use patterns were used to predict mortality rates and time to mortality.
Older age, health problems, and substance use were associated with an increased risk of mortality, and higher percentages of time abstinent and longer durations of continuous abstinence were associated with a reduced risk of mortality. Treatment readmission in the first 6 months after baseline was related to an increased likelihood of abstinence, whereas readmission after 6 months was related to a decreased likelihood of abstinence, suggesting that treatment timing is significant.
Our findings suggest the need to shift the addiction treatment field from an acute care model to a chronic disease management paradigm and the need for more aggressive screening, intervention, and addiction management over time.

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