The purpose of this study was to: (1) describe the alcohol and other drug use patterns among adolescents discharged from a unique long-term semiresidential treatment program in Canada; (2) compare graduates and nongraduates on alcohol and other drug use, and 12-step program attendance; and (3) evaluate the relationship between psychosocial outcomes and continuous abstinence during the 2 years following discharge from the program (ie, obtaining education, becoming employed, maintaining a steady relationship with a significant other, and less involvement in deviant behaviors).
Materials and Methods:
Fifty individuals (41 treatment graduates and 9 treatment nongraduates) were interviewed by telephone after discharge. The time interval between discharge from treatment and study interview ranged from 2 to 9 years, with a median of 5 years. Additional data for 48 participants were obtained from administrative records at the treatment program.
Among the overall sample, 50.0% were abstinent for the first 2 years postdischarge, and maintaining abstinence for 2 years was more prevalent among program graduates than nongraduates (58.5% vs. 11.1%). Nearly all relapses involved alcohol or cannabis. With the exception of being in a serious relationship, continuous abstinence was unrelated to other psychosocial variables.
This specialized, long-term residential program yielded high continuous abstinence rates for program graduates, but intensive support during and following treatment discharge for these young adults is warranted to improve educational attainment and employment prospects, and decrease deviant behaviors following discharge. Additional research is needed to more fully understand the long-term outcomes of adolescents attending community-based drug treatment programs.