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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2000 Sep;19(2):199-205.

Acupuncture for addicted patients with chronic histories of arrest. A pilot study of the Consortium Treatment Center.

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Merle West Center for Medical Research, 1453 Esplanade, 97601, Klamath Falls, OR, USA.


Auricular acupuncture continues to gain popularity as an adjunct to substance abuse treatment. This report describes an outcomes study in a treatment center tailored to the needs of chronic repeat offenders. Thirty-seven patients who received acupuncture (AC) during the early weeks of treatment were followed for 180 days postadmission. Data were collected for four parameters: (1) program retention, (2) new arrests incurred, (3) drug-positive urinalysis results, and (4) number of days needed to progress from entry level to secondary level treatment. These data were compared to archived information from 49 no-acupuncture (NA) patients who had entered the program before acupuncture became available. Chi-square tests determined that AC patients exhibited significantly higher program retention than NA patients at 30 (p < 0.0001), 60 (p <.002), 90 (p <. 001), 120 (p <.007), and 150 (p <.031) days. At 180 days, a higher percentage of AC patients than NA patients remained in treatment, but the difference was not significant. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis determined that AC patients had significantly higher cumulative probability of remaining in treatment than did NA patients (p <.0021). In AC patients, there were decreased numbers of new arrests, drug-positive urinalysis results, and days needed to advance in treatment, but the differences were not significant. Fifty-one percent of all patients named methamphetamine as their primary drug of choice. Regardless of treatment group, methamphetamine-addicted patients exhibited significantly lower program retention than patients addicted to all other drugs (p <. 035). In methamphetamine-addicted patients, acupuncture improved program retention only up to 30 days (p <.021). These findings support addition of acupuncture to substance abuse treatment for criminal justice clients and indicate a need for acupuncture research focusing on withdrawal from methamphetamine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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