Drug and alcohol addiction is often a chronic or ongoing problem. A new study in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association looks at whether coordinating patients care more closely makes them more likely to beat their addiction.
Researchers divided people with drug or alcohol problems into two groups. For one year, one group saw a physician and received information on where to get additional help. The other group met regularly with a nurse care manager, internist, social worker and psychiatrist.
Lead Researcher Dr. Richard Saitz from Boston Medical Center says, "at 12 months about 2 in 5 told us that they were not using opioids, not using cocaine and not drinking heavily. What we were disappointed by frankly was that the people in the chronic care management group and the people in the control group both reported abstaining at those levels."
Researchers say one reason for this may be that a number of participants had problems beyond just addiction; many had spent time in a shelter, suffered depression and post traumatic stress disorder.
But they say providing chronic care management more intensive or longer than that was provided in the study may affect future outcomes.