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Excessive alcohol consumption and drinking expectations among clients in methadone maintenance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

J Hillebrand, J Marsden, E Finch, J Strang

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155 - 160
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

King's Authors


Excessive alcohol consumption and related problems are common among clients in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT), yet relatively little is known about the psychological and social determinants of alcohol-related attitudes and behaviors during treatment. This study reports on the prevalence of alcohol dependence, patterns of alcohol consumption and preliminary findings about clients' beliefs that they will change their drinking behavior in the future. Data were gathered from personal interviews with 66 clients attending a MMT program in South London (some 80.5% of the eligible caseload). Forty-one percent of the overall sample met DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence in the past 12 months. Among clients who reported drinking in the past month (n = 50), 54% were classified as dependent, and these clients reported consuming an average of 23.5 UK standard units of absolute alcohol (188g/6.58 ounces) on atypical drinking day in the past month. Exploratory analyses suggested that expectations to change drinking behavior were predicted by subjective norms (social pressures), perceived functions of alcohol use, past drinking levels and current dose of methadone. Clinicians engaged in alcohol problems assessment and counseling during MMT could usefully examine these influences to strengthen treatment provision. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.

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