An Innovative Job Placement Model for Unemployed Methadone Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial
This article presents the outcomes of an innovative vocational rehabilitation model designed for methadone-maintained patients -- the Customized Employment Supports (CES) model. CES counselors work intensively with a small caseload of patients to overcome the vocational as well as non-vocational barriers that hinder employment, with the goal of attaining rapid job placement. A randomized clinical trial was implemented at two methadone treatment programs in New York City and was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse The study tested the hypothesis that patients assigned to the experimental (CES) condition would have better employment outcomes than those assigned to a control condition who received standard vocational counseling at the programs. The data were collected from May 2001 through April 2005. The efficacy sample for the analysis consisted of 168 patients who completed follow-up interviews. The sample was 58% male, 75% minority group, average age 45 years, and in methadone treatment for an average of five years. The results supported the hypothesis for two measures of employment; i.e., the CES group was significantly more likely than the control group to obtain both any paid employment and informal paid employment. However, there were no significant differences for competitive employment or total earnings. The study's limitations are noted. Implications of the findings for the improvement of vocational rehabilitation for addiction patients are discussed.