Predictors of opiate drug abuse during a 90-day methadone detoxification

Martin Y. Iguchi, Maxine L. Stitzer

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ABSTRACT The behavioral circumstances related to opiate drug use were examined during a 90-day outpatient methadone detoxification. Seventy-one subjects (55 male and 16 female) were followed from the day of intake to treatment termination. Data were collected by means of a weekly structured interview. Questions were asked about each occasion of opiate use in the previous week with respect to time, source, cost, social circumstance, etc. Monitored urine samples were tested x3/week to verify verbal reports. The study demonstrated beneficial effects of the detoxification treatment by showing dramatic decreases in rates and amounts of opiate drug use during treatment. The study also identified race (p < 0008; t = -3.522; beta = -0.366), gender (p < 0243; t = 2.305; beta = 0.222), and the number of opiate use episodes/week at baseline (p < 0013; t = -3.364; beta = -0.338) as significant and independent predictors of treatment outcome. Current duration of regular and continuous opiate use was also found to be marginally significant. The overall regression was highly significant (p < 0001; F = 9.176; df = 4,66). A second regression analysis with race, age, and gender excluded as independent variables was conducted in order to derive indices which were related to behavioral and environmental characteristics versus global physical/cultural identification. With race and gender removed, the overall regression was still highly significant, although less than a fifth of the variance was accounted for. The number of opiate use episodes/week at baseline and the total number of drug-related stimulus cue exposures at baseline were found to be independently significant variables in the analysis. Knowledge of the impact of such behavioral factors on the treatment process may enable us to better understand the role of environmental contributors to opiate use. Such information may also help us to direct our limited resources and to better focus our treatment interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-294
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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