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Home > Situational and psycho-social factors associated with relapse following residential detoxification in a population of Irish opioid dependent patients.

Ducray, Kevin and Darker, Catherine D and Smyth, Bobby P (2012) Situational and psycho-social factors associated with relapse following residential detoxification in a population of Irish opioid dependent patients. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine , 29 , (2) , pp. 72-79.

Aims: To identify and describe the context and factors involved in the opioid lapse process following discharge from an Irish inpatient opioid detoxification treatment programme.

Design, participants, setting: Prospective follow-up study of consecutive detoxified opioid dependent patients treated in a specialist inpatient drug dependency unit.

Measurements: The Maudsley Addiction Profile and a structured interview were administered to 109 patients, 18–36 months after discharge.

Findings: Of 109 people interviewed at follow-up, 102 (94%) reported at least one episode of opioid use after leaving the residential treatment programme. Eighty eight patients (86% of the lapsers) identified more than one major factor contributing to their recidivism. The median number of factors identified as having a major role in the lapse was four. The most frequently reported major contributors to lapse were low mood (62%), difficulties with craving (62%), ease of access to heroin (48%) and missing the support of the treatment centre (43%).

Conclusions: Early lapse was common following inpatient treatment of opioid dependence. Lapse tended to result from a number of common, identifiable, high-risk situations, feelings and cognitions which may assist clinicians and patients develop lapse prevention strategies to anticipate and interrupt this process.


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