Treating the partners of opioid-dependent pregnant patients: feasibility and efficacy

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Impact Factor: 1.78). 03/2011; 37(3):170-8. DOI: 10.3109/00952990.2011.563336
Source: PubMed


Drug-dependent pregnant women with intimate partners who are also drug-dependent have been found to have compromised treatment outcomes. Thus, developing a treatment to reduce a male partner's drug use is the first step in a line of research with a distal goal of improving pregnant patient's treatment outcomes.
This study examined a novel intervention for engaging the male partner in drug treatment.
Men targeted for intervention were non-treatment-seeking opioid users. Motivational enhancement therapy (MET), an effective non-confrontational intervention approach for evoking behavioral change, was employed to encourage treatment participation. This six-session intervention was followed by a drug-abstinent contingency-based voucher incentive program. Moreover, to help maintain drug abstinence, male partners had rapid facilitation into either opioid detoxification with aftercare or methadone maintenance. Interwoven into treatment were both couple's counseling and a men's group educational program designed to strengthen the support provided by the men to their partners during pregnancy and post-delivery. Men (n = 45) received either the novel intervention package called HOPE (Helping Other Partners Excel) or a control condition (n = 17) that received weekly support and referrals for treatment.
Men in the HOPE condition, compared with the usual care condition, showed increased treatment retention, transient decreases in heroin use, increased involvement in recreational activities, less reliance on public assistance, and increased social support for their pregnant partners. CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Results suggest that treatment of male partners is feasible and efficacious in the short term but modifications to the intervention are needed to sustain results.

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