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Monday, December 12, 2011

Four-yearoutcomes from the Early Re-Intervention (ERI) experiment using Recovery Management Checkups (RMCs)

While drug abuse is the 10th leading cause of mortality in the US, the public health care system has been slow to adopt a chronic disease approach with aggressively timed monitoring and interventions. Drug abuse remains isolated from adoption into the “chronic condition” model of care. This paper evaluates the efficacy of quarterly Recovery Management Checkups (RMCs) on treatment reentry and long-term substance use in the context of chronic substance use disorders.

446 adult substance users were randomly assigned to RMC or a control group and assessed quarterly for previous term4next termprevious termyearsnext term (94% completion). The main previous termoutcome measures were: time from need of treatment to treatment reentry, frequency of treatment reentry, days of treatment, number of substance use related problems per month, and total days abstinent.

Participants in the RMC condition were significantly more likely than participants in the control group to return to treatment sooner, to return at all, to return more times, and to receive more total days of treatment. They subsequently had significantly fewer quarters in need of treatment, fewer substance related problems per month, and more total days of abstinence. Effects were larger for those with earlier onset and higher crime/violence scores.

RMC is an effective method of monitoring and re-intervening with chronic substance users and is associated with improved long-term previous termoutcomes. A subgroup of people for whom RMC did not appear to be “enough,” signals a need to explore more intensive models to address chronicity.

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