Attendance at Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, frequency of attendance and substance use outcomes after residential treatment for drug dependence: a 5-year follow-up study.

This study investigates the relationship between frequency of attendance at Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous (NA/AA) meetings and substance use outcomes after residential treatment of drug dependence.

It was predicted that post-treatment NA/AA attendance would be related to improved substance use outcomes.

Using a longitudinal, prospective cohort design, interviews were conducted with drug-dependent clients (n = 142) at intake to residential treatment, and at 1 year, 2 years and 4-5 years follow-up. Data were collected by structured interviews. All follow-up interviews were carried out by independent professional interviewers.

  • Abstinence from opiates was increased throughout the 5-year follow-up period compared to pre-treatment levels.
  • Clients who attended NA/AA after treatment were more likely to be abstinent from opiates at follow-up.
  • Abstinence from stimulants increased at follow-up but no additional benefit was found for NA/AA attendance.
  • There was no overall change in alcohol abstinence after treatment but clients who attended NA/AA were more likely to be abstinent from alcohol at all follow-up points.
  • More frequent NA/AA attenders were more likely to be abstinent from opiates and alcohol when compared both to non-attenders and to infrequent (less than weekly) attenders.

Conclusions NA/AA can support and supplement residential addiction treatment as an aftercare resource.

In view of the generally poor alcohol use outcomes achieved by drug-dependent patients after treatment, the improved alcohol outcomes of NA/AA attenders suggests that the effectiveness of existing treatment services may be improved by initiatives that lead to increased involvement and engagement with such groups.

Gossop M, Stewart D, Marsden J. Attendance at Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, frequency of attendance and substance use outcomes after residential treatment for drug dependence: a 5-year follow-up study. Addiction. 2007 Nov 20.

Brief-TSF can assist patients cease alcohol consumption.