ABSTRACT: Many patients with chronic opioid dependence are referred to drug-free outpatient treatment following inpatient detoxification even though successful outpatient treatment engagement and abstinence from opioids occur only in a minority of cases. This retrospective cohort analysis of medical records documents the post-discharge outcome in a treatment setting that maximizes the support during transition to abstinence-oriented outpatient care, with comprehensive social, medical and mental health services, including the availability of naltrexone. Participants were male veterans (N = 112) admitted at an urban VA medical center. Most patients (78%) successfully completed acute detoxification, 49% initiated naltrexone, and 76% accepted a VA aftercare plan. At 90-day follow-up, only 22% remained in aftercare, and < 3% had toxicology-verified abstinence from opioids. At one-year follow-up, 1 out of 5 had been readmitted for detoxification and 4.5% had died. Most patients successfully detoxified from opioids, but very few remained engaged and stabilized in abstinence-oriented outpatient treatment.
Journal of Addictive Diseases 02/2006; 25(4):27-35. · 1.46 Impact Factor