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J Addict Dis. 1997;16(2):57-84.

"Intensive" outpatient substance abuse treatment: comparisons with "traditional" outpatient treatment.

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  • 1Treatment Research Institute, Philadelphia, PA 19103, USA.


Do "intensive," freestanding outpatient substance abuse treatment programs actually provide more intensive services than "traditional" outpatient programs? Three hundred and thirty-eight patients in 6 "intensive" outpatient (IO) programs (three or more times weekly) were compared with 580 patients from 10 "traditional" outpatient (TO) programs (one or two times weekly) on severity of admission problems, treatment services received and six month outcomes.


1. IO subjects generally had the most severe medical, employment, legal and psychiatric problems at admission. 2. IO patients received more alcohol and drug focused services; but fewer medical and employment focused services than the TO patients. Both groups received very few psychosocial services. 3. There were not significant differences between the IO and TO program samples at follow-up. However, both groups showed significant reductions in substance use, improvements in personal health and social function.

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