New research from Johns Hopkins suggests that providing sober living contingent on staying clean after detoxification for inner city opiate abusers reduces their chances for relapse within 6 months. Relapse rates for people leaving detox centers is 65-80% within the first month, but sober living along with intensive outpatient therapy increases the chance for abstinence by 10 times. Sober living alone, without outpatient treatment, increases the chance of abstinence by 5 times. Either way, this could be a great alternative to the traditional, expensive inpatient treatment.
According to newswire.com, the study utilized 243 opioid dependent people in Baltimore, who completed a 3 to 14 day detoxification. One group was provided sober living, contingent upon their remaining sober, while another group also received the same housing coupled with intensive outpatient treatment, and the last group got information and referrals to community-based aftercare programs. None of the participants received opiate substitutions like methadone or buprenorphine. After one month, 60% with treatment and housing remained clean, while 44% in housing alone remained clean. Only 5% without housing remained clean. After 6 months, 50% with both housing and treatment were clean, followed by 37% with housing and 13% without housing. Furthermore, those in treatment and housing remained in the sober living facility longer. 50% of the people who remained in housing for 2 months were also clean in 6 months.
Research suggests that abstinence-dependent housing may be an effective way to prolong time users spend away from the neighborhoods and environments that triggered past drug use, and in turn, stay clean longer. Researchers claim that the cost of sober living is not cheap, but it is cheaper than the medical and social costs associated with relapse.
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