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Home > Treatment outcome for adolescents abusing alcohol and cannabis: how many 'reliably improve'?

Smyth, Bobby P (2015) Treatment outcome for adolescents abusing alcohol and cannabis: how many 'reliably improve'? Irish Medical Journal , 108 , (5) , pp. 137-139.

URL: http://archive.imj.ie//ViewArticleDetails.aspx?Art...


Alcohol and cannabis are the primary substances contributing to referrals of adolescents to substance abuse treatment services. Their outcome has not been examined in Ireland. A three month follow-up was conducted in an outpatient adolescent treatment program. We followed up 35 high risk users of alcohol and 55 high risk users of cannabis. Although the high risk drinkers achieved a significant reduction in median number of days drinking (p=0.004), only four (11%) were abstinent at follow up. A further five (14%) achieved a reliable reduction in days of drinking. The high risk cannabis users demonstrated a significant drop in median days of use (p<0.001), although only six (11%) were abstinent at follow up. A further 20 (36%) achieved a reliable reduction in days of use. Calculation of reliable change allows examination of outcomes which fall short of the elusive goal of abstinence.

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