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Long-Term Outcomes of Aftercare Participation Following Various Forms of Drug Abuse Treatment in Scotland

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Issues Volume: 40 Issue: 3 Dated: Spring 2010 Pages: 703-728
Date Published
26 pages

This paper assesses the influence of aftercare on various treatment outcomes and subsequent treatment and service utilization over a 33-month period among a cohort of individuals treated in a prison or community setting in Scotland.


Due to high relapse rates after leaving treatment, drug users are often recommended to participate in some form of lower intensity continuing care. The importance of aftercare is widely accepted, but little empirical data are available about the effectiveness of continuing services over longer periods of time and following various treatment modalities. This study assessed the influence of various forms of aftercare on treatment outcomes and service utilization over a 33-month period among a naturalistic cohort of 653 drug users treated in prison or community settings, as part of the Drug Outcome Research in Scotland (DORIS study). Although participation in aftercare after initial treatment is rather unusual, the odds of having experienced a drug-free period (after 8 months) (OR equals 1.91, 95 percent Cl 1.10-3.33) and of being abstinent from heroin (after 33 months) (OR equals 0.56, 95 percent Cl 0.34-0.94) almost doubled. Program aftercare was of little additional value after intensive residential treatment, but particularly important after prison-based and community treatment and if combined with self-help participation. Consequently, attractive and fitted aftercare services would be offered as an integrated part of various treatment modalities. Tables and references (Published Abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 2010