Involving significant others in the care of opioid-dependent patients receiving methadone.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (Impact Factor: 3.14). 08/2005; 29(1):19-27. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsat.2005.03.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Positive, abstinence-oriented, social support is associated with good substance abuse treatment outcome but few interventions are designed to help patients improve their social supports. This article reports on a behavioral intervention designed to encourage opioid-dependent patients receiving methadone to include drug-free family members or friends in treatment and to use these individuals to facilitate development of a supportive, non-drug-using social network. This report uses data from a quality assurance program review of the treatment response of 59 opioid-dependent outpatients who identified a drug-free significant other to participate in their treatment. Fifty-five (93.2%) brought a significant other (most often the patient's mother, 29%) to both the initial evaluation session and at least one joint session. Social support activities were family- (33%), church- (28%), and self-help group-related (30%). Approximately 78% of patients who participated in the social support intervention achieved at least four consecutive weeks of abstinence. Women responded better than men. We conclude that methadone-maintained patients can and will include non-drug-using family members and friends in treatment, and these individuals can be mobilized to help patients improve their recovery.

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