Sober housing helps! Who knew?

Detox + discharge = 😦

Detox + sober housing = 🙂

Detox + sober housing + treatment = 😀

To find out if opioid-dependent individuals achieve higher abstinence rates given access to recovery housing and day treatment, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine followed 243 patients — primarily heroin users — after their release from detox.  Eighty-three patients received 12 weeks of rent-free recovery housing and were required to remain drug-free during their residency.  Eighty more patients received 12 weeks of recovery housing plus 26 weeks of outpatient treatment, including cognitive behavioral group therapy, recreational activities, vocational assistance, and individual counseling.  The final eighty patients received referrals for aftercare treatment at other community programs. The researchers assessed all participants at one, three, and six months after detox to see how many had remained abstinent.

The overall abstinence rate for participants given no housing or treatment was a disappointing 13%, but patients who received housing showed a 37% abstinence rate, and among the group that received housing plus day treatment, 50% were abstinent.  At each of the three assessment points, participants receiving housing plus treatment were twice as likely to remain abstinent than those receiving housing only, and ten times more likely to remain abstinent than those receiving no housing or treatment at all.

In general, the best outcomes came from participants who stayed in recovery housing the longest, and access to day treatment tended to promote longer residencies:  an average of 49.5 days versus 32.2 days for housing residents who received no day treatment.

I don’t pretend to have a clue about the quality of those sober houses or treatment, but I imagine that the outcomes would only improve with really high quality sober housing and an exceptionally vibrant recovering community.

2 thoughts on “Sober housing helps! Who knew?

  1. Great study! However, I think a more accurate measure would include free housing for all 3 groups (sober housing and non-sober housing).


    1. That would be interesting. In terms of accuracy, I suppose it matters what, exactly, you intend to measure. They do appear to have demonstrated that sober housing following detox improves abstinence rates and adding treatment improves them even further. It would have also been interesting to see a group get detox and treatment but no housing.

      Thanks for commenting!


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