Type of hospital setting and treatment outcome with heroin addicts. Results from a randomised trial.

J Strang, I Marks, S Dawe, J Powell, M Gossop, D Richards, J Gray

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35 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND General psychiatrists have recently been encouraged to provide treatment to heroin addicts, including in-patient detoxification. No comparison has previously been made of specialist versus general psychiatric in-patient care.
METHOD During a randomised study of cue exposure, 186 opiate addicts were also randomised to either specialist in-patient (DDU; n = 115) or general psychiatric (GEN; n = 71) wards in the same hospital.
RESULTS From pre-treatment (post-randomisation) onwards, patient outcomes differed across the two in-patient settings. Of the original randomised sample, significantly more DDU than GEN subjects accepted their randomisation (100 v. 77%), were subsequently admitted (60 v. 42%), and completed in-patient detoxification (45 v. 18%). Of patients admitted, more DDU than GEN patients completed detoxification (75 v. 43%). During seven-month follow-up, of those 43 patients who reached the end of treatment, significantly more ex-DDU than ex-GEN subjects were opiate-free.
CONCLUSIONS From pre-treatment onwards, significant differences in process and outcome were found after allocation to treatment on either DDU or GEN. Further randomised studies are required to replicate and explain these findings
Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)335-339
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997


  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Great Britain
  • Heroin Dependence
  • Hospitalization
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Metabolic Detoxication, Drug
  • Patient Dropouts
  • Treatment Outcome


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