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J Subst Abuse Treat. 1997 Jan-Feb;14(1):23-8.

Motivating methadone patients to include drug-free significant others in treatment: a behavioral intervention.

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  • 1Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, USA.


The present study introduced a novel behavioral approach for encouraging methadone-treated patients to bring drug-free significant other support into treatment. Seventy-five patients referred to high-intensity psychosocial treatment due to chronic drug use were given 3 weeks to identify a drug-free significant other. Patients noncompliant with this intervention were started on a methadone dose taper that was stopped when significant other support was identified. Patients and their significant others were required to attend a significant other group one time per week for a minimum of 6 weeks. Eighty-five percent of the patients brought a drug-free significant other into treatment. Significant others included family members, partners, and friends. Patients who identified significant other support complied with 77% of their scheduled sessions. The results demonstrated that most methadone patients have drug-free support people who are willing to participate in their treatment. These individuals can be utilized to help patients initiate the process of building new drug-free social support networks.

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