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Home > A long-term study of the outcomes of drug users leaving treatment.

National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse. (2010) A long-term study of the outcomes of drug users leaving treatment. London: National Treatment Agency.

PDF (A long-term study of the outcomes of drug users leaving treatment) - Published Version
PDF (Drug and Alcohol Findings review summary of NTA outcomes study 2010) - Supplemental Material

The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) has tracked the post-treatment journey of thousands of drug users over a four year period and has discovered that almost half of those discharged in one year subsequently demonstrated sustained recovery from addiction.

The NTA matched four years' worth of National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) data with Drug Test Records (DTR) and the Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) to evaluate the long-term outcomes of drug treatment for 41,475 people who left drug treatment in England in the financial year 2005-06. It included both those who left treatment in a planned way, and those who dropped out.

The key findings were:

•Strong evidence of sustained recovery from addiction was found for almost half of all the clients discharged from treatment during 2005-06. Around 46% neither came back into treatment, nor were they found to be involved in drug related offending in the following four years.
•Of the remainder discharged in 2005-6, about half of them came back directly into treatment, mostly within a year; and a further one-third were re-directed back into treatment through contact with the criminal justice system.
•Of those who left treatment but subsequently re-offended using drugs, 65% went back into treatment. This indicates they got a second chance to overcome their addiction.
Around 200,000 people get help for drug dependency in England every year. Most are addicted to heroin or crack cocaine, or both. They will have been using their drug or drugs of dependency for eight years on average before they seek treatment.

The NTA undertook the research on behalf of the Home Office in order to gain a clearer picture of the effectiveness of treatment than that presented by the snapshot published each October in the NDTMS annual statistics.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Drug therapy, Treatment method, Psychosocial treatment method, Rehabilitation/Recovery
11 p.
National Treatment Agency
Corporate Creators
National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse
Place of Publication
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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