Comparative drug use and psychosocial profiles of opioid dependents applying for medication versus medication-free treatment

Zulema Cumberbatch, Marc Copersino, Maxine Stitzer, Hendrée Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drug treatment-seeking abusers generally self-select their treatment modality. Most opioid-dependent individuals select either methadone maintenance or detoxification followed by medication-free outpatient treatment. This study examined demographic, drug use, and drug abuse treatment history for opioid dependent patients entering an opioid agonist (n = 203) or a medication-free (n = 155) treatment program located on the same hospital campus. Similar demographic profiles support the assertion that samples were drawn from the same inner city urban opioid using population. Patients entering drug-free treatment, however, reported more extensive prior use of both cocaine and alcohol. Further, these patients had a generally more severe profile of psychosocial problems in medical, legal, employment, family/social, and psychiatric areas as measured by the Addiction Severity Index (ASI). These findings suggest that outpatient drug-free programs enrolling opioid abusers are faced with a unique service delivery challenge that involves service needs in multiple arenas. The findings further suggest that patient self-selection of treatment programs may in some cases result in a discrepancy between patient needs and the ability of treatment programs to retain patients and deliver an appropriate array of services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-249
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004


  • Drug-free modality
  • Methadone maintenance
  • Treatment modality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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