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Facilitating Aftercare for Alcohol Detox Patients

This study has been completed.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Information provided by:
State University of New York at Buffalo Identifier:
First received: August 7, 2007
Last updated: April 15, 2011
Last verified: April 2011
The purpose of this study is to determine whether peer visits (known as "12th Step Calls") and professional counselors (using "Motivational Enhancement Therapy") are effective helping alcoholics link to substance abuse treatment programs after being in the hospital for detox.

Condition Intervention
Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol Dependence
Behavioral: Motivation Enhancement Therapy (MET)
Behavioral: Peer-Twelve Step Facilitation (P-TSF)

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Helping Alcoholics Link to Substance Abuse Treatment Programs After Being in the Hospital for Detoxification

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by State University of New York at Buffalo:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Linkage to Alcohol Behavioral Therapy Counseling (i.e., "Aftercare") [ Time Frame: 1 month ]
    Linkage to alcohol behavioral therapy counseling (i.e., "aftercare") was defined as: arriving for the first outpatient chemical dependency counseling visit, being admitted to an inpatient or residential chemical dependency treatment facility, or attending at least one meeting of a help-help program such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Relapse to Drinking [ Time Frame: 30 days ]
    Relapse to drinking was defined as the consumption of one or more standard drinks (approximately 12 grams of ethanol)during the first 30 days following discharge from the inpatient detoxification unit. The date of discharge was considered to be "Day 1."

  • Completed Inpatient Treatment [ Time Frame: 90 days ]
    Completion of inpatient treatment was defined as being admitted to and successfully discharged from an inpatient alcohol treatment program (e.g., a "28-day program"). Participants who left the inpatient program "against medical advice" or who received an "administrative discharge" were not considered to have successfully completed the inpatient program.

Enrollment: 150
Study Start Date: July 2007
Study Completion Date: August 2008
Primary Completion Date: April 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
No Intervention: Treatment As Usual (TAU)
Treatment as Usual (TAU): Participants randomized to this arm will receive "usual care" (i.e., pharmacotherapy to manage alcohol withdrawal, counseling and referral to treatment or self-help) during medically managed inpatient detoxification.
Experimental: Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
Participants randomized to this arm will receive "usual care" (i.e., pharmacotherapy to manage alcohol withdrawal, counseling and referral to treatment or self-help) during inpatient detoxification plus a 60-minute Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) session delivered by a trained professional.
Behavioral: Motivation Enhancement Therapy (MET)
Participants assigned to this arm will receive a 60-minute MET intervention in addition to "usual care" while hospitalized for detoxification.
Other Name: Brief Intervention
Experimental: Peer-delivered Twelve Step Facilitation
Participants randomized to this arm will receive "usual care" (i.e., pharmacotherapy to manage alcohol withdrawal, counseling and referral to treatment or self-help) during inpatient detoxification plus a 60-minute Peer-delivered Twelve Step Facilitation (P-TSF)session delivered by individuals from a common self-help program.
Behavioral: Peer-Twelve Step Facilitation (P-TSF)
In addition to "usual care" while hospitalized for detoxification, participants assigned to this arm will receive a 60-minute visit by peers who are "recovering from alcoholism" and who are active in 12-step oriented self-help programs.
Other Name: "12th Step Calls"

Detailed Description:

For those with an alcohol use disorder, the decision to seek detoxification treatment often represents a desire or willingness to change drinking behavior. This gives clinicians with the opportunity to intervene and improve the lives of these individuals. Even patients admitted involuntarily or who have been coerced may be amenable to change. Therefore, inpatient alcohol detoxification treatment offers an opportunity to prepare these patients for and link them with aftercare treatment.

Unfortunately, clinicians have little to guide them on how the current standard of care for alcohol detoxification might be improved. Improvement in clinical practice is ideally driven by clinical research, but there is little recent published information to guide the development of evidence-based pharmacological or psychological practices or interventions in detoxification settings. As a result, alcohol detoxification treatment has changed little over the past 25 years.

Taken as a whole, the literature suggests that the outcomes of inpatient detoxification are less than optimal. A limited number of published studies suggest that a majority of these patients are not linked to any aftercare following inpatient detoxification treatment and return to drinking within a few weeks of hospital discharge. However, there is some evidence to suggest that interventions, performed while the patient is hospitalized, could encourage patients to initiate involvement in aftercare (i.e., professional treatment and/or mutual self-help following hospitalization) and to decrease drinking or initiate abstinence. Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Twelve-Step Facilitation are two interventions that show promise.

The study proposed in this study addresses this issue by testing two brief interventions, Motivation Enhancement Therapy (MET) and Peer-Twelve Step Facilitation (P-TSF, also known as "12th Step Calls"), which have shown potential to enhance initiation of a period of abstinence and engagement in treatment and/or self-help programs among alcohol detoxification patients.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Male and female inpatients 18 years of age or older.
  • Participants will have a current DSM-IV diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependence.
  • Able to understand/speak English
  • Participants will have signed a witnessed informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Cognitive impairment (e.g., mental retardation)
  • Participants who meet current DSM-IV criteria for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or dementia
  • Participants who are homeless, without contact person
  • Participants enrolled in a methadone maintenance treatment program.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00513708

United States, New York
Erie County Medical Center
Buffalo, New York, United States, 14215
Sponsors and Collaborators
State University of New York at Buffalo
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Principal Investigator: Richard D. Blondell, MD State University of New York at Buffalo
  More Information

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Richard D. Blondell, Department of Family Medicine, University at Buffalo Identifier: NCT00513708     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: BLO-NIAAA-015616
K23AA015616 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: August 7, 2007
Results First Received: February 14, 2011
Last Updated: April 15, 2011

Keywords provided by State University of New York at Buffalo:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Alcohol-Related Disorders
Substance-Related Disorders
Chemically-Induced Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on April 26, 2017