Housing Help Drug Addicts

Heroin and OxyContin addiction may be curbed by housing programs post detox

(RxWiki News) Heroin and other opiates are among the most difficult drug addictions to kick. A staggering 65% to 80% of addicts return to regular use within 1 month of a normal detox program. A housing program may be able to help.

Addicts who were provided with a drug-free housing incentive and an additional treatment program were up to 10 times more likely to be abstinent from drugs 6 months after detoxification.

Even just the housing program, without additional treatment, was almost 5 times more effective than detox alone.

"It’s never too late to save someone from addiction."

Michelle Tuten, M.S.W., an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explains:

“These are people with a long history of failed treatment attempts and they need something more intensive than just a short stay in detox. Our research shows that providing recovery housing to opioid dependent people, with or without additional formalized treatment, results in much higher abstinence rates than detoxification alone.”

243 addicts participated in the study, which was subdivided into three groups. The first group was provided housing for three months - paid for by the study under the condition of drug abstinence. The second group was provided housing and an additional drug treatment program. The last group was referred to community treatment programs, but not provided housing or direct treatment.

The researchers assessed the progress of participants at 1, 3, and 6 months. Those participants who relapsed into drug use were removed from housing.

After 1 month 60% of the group who received treatment and housing remained, while 44% of those who only received housing remained. A mere 5% of users left on their own remained drug free after the first month.

Those enrolled in the treatment program stayed on average of 50 days, while those with housing alone stayed in housing for 32 days. However, of participants in housing longer than 60 days, more than 50% were drug free after 6 months.

The housing cost $105 per week for each participant. "The cost of housing is high, but it may be cost-effective compared to the medical and social costs associated with relapse," adds Tuten.

The study was published in the Feb. 2012 edition of the journal Addiction and was funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Drug Abuse.