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Med Law. 1998;17(1):131-42.

Outcomes of regular versus extended outpatient alcohol/drug treatment. Part II. Medical, psychiatric, legal and social problems.

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Washington Institute, University of Washington, USA.


Alcohol and drug patients were placed into two groups in order to study differences in outcome based on treatment duration. One group received regular outpatient treatment of 90 days (n = 103), and the other received extended outpatient treatment of 180 days (n = 127). Most patients received 30 days of inpatient stabilization treatment before placement into outpatient.


Patients were randomized into the two groups, and interviewed at discharge, and three and six months post-discharge. Data were analyzed using chi-square, t-test, and multivariate logistic regression techniques.


There were no major differences between the two groups in the numbers reporting subsequent drug use, or medical, psychiatric, legal, and social problems. However, in terms of ancillary effects, the extended treatment group had slightly more desirable outcomes with respect to doctor's visits, arrests, or being a homemaker at three and six months post-discharge. Post-discharge medical problems, in terms of doctor's office visits, were predictable by longer treatment duration, pre-treatment cocaine use as primary drug, and pre-treatment heroin use as secondary drug. Patients were most likely to live with parents, roommates, or alone. Whereas abstinence was related to stability in living arrangements, aftercare attendance and heroin use were related to unstable living situations.

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