Home > In-patient treatment of opiate dependence: medium-term follow-up outcomes.

Smyth, Bobby P and Barry, Joseph and Lane, Alison and Cotter, Amanda and O'Neill, M and Quinn, Catherine and Keenan, Eamon (2005) In-patient treatment of opiate dependence: medium-term follow-up outcomes. British Journal of Psychiatry, 187, pp. 360-365. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.187.4.360.

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External website: https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/6777/1/Smyth_BP_304...

Background: The outcome for opiate-dependent patients seeking abstinence is unclear in this era of improved access to methadone maintenance.

Aims: To measure the outcome 2-3 years after in-patient treatment.

Method: Opiate-dependent patients admitted with a goal of abstinence were followed-up. A structured interview examined drug use and treatment in the preceding month.

Results: Five patients had died and 109 (76%) of the remaining 144 were interviewed. Fifty per cent (54 patients) reported recent opiate misuse and 57% (62) were on methadone maintenance. Twenty-three per cent (25 patients) were abstinent (i.e. neither using opiates nor on methadone maintenance). Abstinence was significantly associated with completion of the 6-week in-patient treatment programme and attendance at out-patient after-care, and negatively associated with a family history of substance misuse.

Conclusions: Abstinence remains an attainable goal. As the principal influence on outcome was treatment adherence, inpatient services should seek to enhance rates of programme completion. After-care should be provided to patients. We caution against use of pre-treatment patient characteristics as criteria for prioritising access to in-patient treatment.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Intervention Type
Treatment method
Identification #
Page Range
pp. 360-365
The Royal College of Psychiatrists
Accession Number
HRB 3041 (Electronic Only)
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