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Evaluation of therapeutic alternatives to imprisonment for drug-dependent offenders. Findings of a comparative European multi-country study


Uchtenhagen, Ambros; Stevens, A; Berto, D; Frick, Ulrich; Hunt, N; Kerschl, V; McSweeney, T; Puppo, I; Santamaria, A; Schaaf, Susanne; Steffan, E; Gegenhuber, B; Turnbull, P; Werdenich, W (2008). Evaluation of therapeutic alternatives to imprisonment for drug-dependent offenders. Findings of a comparative European multi-country study. Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems, 10(2):5-10.

Abstract

A multi-country, multi-site comparative research study has documented the feasibility of recruiting drug-dependent individuals receiving treatment as an alternative to imprisonment (‘quasi-compulsory’ treatment, in the setting of an experimental group), while comparing them with those receiving treatment in the same therapeutic institutions, on a voluntary basis (control group). The study combined qualitative and quantitative methods in describing the evolution and outcome of each case after 6, 12 and 18 months in treatment. 845 probands were recruited from 9 sites in 5 countries (Austria, Germany, Italy, UK, Switzerland), 429 in the experimental and 416 in the comparison group. Data were collected using a standardized instrument set and following a joint protocol that allowed for the testing of a number of pre-established hypotheses. Significant reductions in drug use and delinquent behaviour, together with improvements in social integration and health, were found in both groups. Higher rates of perceived external pressure to stay in treatment in the experimental group did not affect motivation of these patients as regards
improvement and retention in the study. It can be concluded that the availability of treatment alternatives to imprisonment for drug dependence are a valuable policy option, under various different conditions, but that this option is open to further improvement.

Abstract

A multi-country, multi-site comparative research study has documented the feasibility of recruiting drug-dependent individuals receiving treatment as an alternative to imprisonment (‘quasi-compulsory’ treatment, in the setting of an experimental group), while comparing them with those receiving treatment in the same therapeutic institutions, on a voluntary basis (control group). The study combined qualitative and quantitative methods in describing the evolution and outcome of each case after 6, 12 and 18 months in treatment. 845 probands were recruited from 9 sites in 5 countries (Austria, Germany, Italy, UK, Switzerland), 429 in the experimental and 416 in the comparison group. Data were collected using a standardized instrument set and following a joint protocol that allowed for the testing of a number of pre-established hypotheses. Significant reductions in drug use and delinquent behaviour, together with improvements in social integration and health, were found in both groups. Higher rates of perceived external pressure to stay in treatment in the experimental group did not affect motivation of these patients as regards
improvement and retention in the study. It can be concluded that the availability of treatment alternatives to imprisonment for drug dependence are a valuable policy option, under various different conditions, but that this option is open to further improvement.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:17 June 2008
Deposited On:25 Feb 2009 20:23
Last Modified:26 Jan 2017 08:43
Publisher:Europad
ISSN:1592-1638
Additional Information:mit freundlicher Genehmigung des German Journal of Psychiatry
Official URL:http://www.atforum.com/europad.html

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