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Short Intervention Treatments for Drug Abuse Prove Ineffective, Study Says

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First Posted: Aug 05, 2014 09:37 PM EDT
Seventeen percent of the study participates said they also regularly used opioids. (Photo : Stephen Cummings)
The use of illicit drugs is inked to many preventable deaths each year. Statistics show that illegal drug use or abuse of prescription drugs were to blame for a 118 percent increase of deaths since 1992 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Recent findings published in JAMA examine treatment methods used to prevent abuse of various drugs. Results revealed that short interventions were unlikely to help dissuade regular users from taking their use to the limit.

Lead study author Richard Saitz, M.D., of the Boston University School of Public Health, recruited 528 adult patients with a history of unhealthy drug use, for the study. He was randomly assigned those in the experiment to one of three groups.

The first group consisted of a brief negotiated interview (BNI) that lasted 10 to 15 minutes, while the second group involved motivational interviewing (MOTIC) for 30 to 45 minutes. The last group did not receive any kind of intervention and everyone was given a list of substance use disorder treatment options and resources to use.

Sixty-three percent of the participants reported marijuana use as their main drug at the study's start. However, 19 percent also said they used cocaine and 17 percent said they used opioids.

Unfortunately, researchers found that throughout the first 30 days of an intervention treatment, there were no significant differences in drug use among the three groups.

"Prescription drug misuse is particularly complex, with diagnostic confusion between misuse for symptoms (e.g., pain, anxiety), euphoria-seeking, and drug diversion. Brief counseling may simply be inadequate to address these complexities, even as an initial strategy," the authors concluded, in a news release. "These results do not support widespread implementation of illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse screening and brief intervention."

However, researchers added that finding the right treatment options early for those in need was critical to prevention and recovery.

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Is it realistic to expect that a 30min once off appointment with a Dr or councilor is going to make an real difference?
Sure its a start and a good one but...

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Yup, compared to the baseline of "a list of substance use disorder treatment options and resources to use" there isnt much someone can say in 30 minutes that an addict hasnt considered already.

Long term support can have a cumulative effect but even then its up to the user to decide to quit.

What people dont want to face is the systemic problems in society that lead to drug abuse, sex abuse, food abuse, etc.

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