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Detoxification in rehabilitation in England: effective continuity of care or unhappy bedfellows?

By P.S. Meier, D. Best and E. Day


There is evidence that residential detoxification alone does not provide satisfactory treatment outcomes and that outcomes are significantly enhanced when clients completing residential detoxification attend rehabilitation services (Gossop, Marsden, Stewart, & Rolfe, 1999; Ghodse, Reynolds, Baldacchino, et al., 2002). One way of increasing the likelihood of this continuity of treatment is by providing detoxification and rehabilitation within the same treatment facility to prevent drop-out, while the client awaits a rehabilitation bed or in the transition process. However, there is little research evidence available on the facilities that offer both medical detoxification and residential rehabilitation. The current study compares self-reported treatment provision in 87 residential rehabilitation services in England, 34 of whom (39.1%) reported that they offered detoxification services within their treatment programmes. Although there were no differences in self-reported treatment philosophies, residential rehabilitation services that offered detoxification were typically of shorter duration overall, had significantly more beds and reported offering more group work than residential rehabilitation services that did not offer detoxification. Outcomes were also different, with twice as many clients discharged on disciplinary grounds from residential rehabilitation services without detoxification facilities. The paper questions the UK classification of residential drug treatment services as either detoxification or rehabilitation and suggests the need for greater research focus on the aims, processes and outcomes of this group of treatment providers

Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2007
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