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Community-based residential rehabilitation programs are only helpful in the short term for methamphetamine users, a new study suggests. Shorter detoxification programs are even less successful, Reuters reports.

While about half of the study participants were able to stop using meth after they joined a residential rehabilitation program, most had gone back to using the drug after three years, the study found.

Few addiction treatment programs are designed specifically for methamphetamine users, according to lead researcher Rebecca McKetin of the Australian National University. Instead, people often go through programs meant for people using heroin or alcohol.

She compared long-term methamphetamine use in 248 people in a rehab program, and 112 in a detox program, with 101 meth users who were not in treatment. People in residential rehab generally live for several months at a treatment center that offers counseling, as well as social and recreational activities. People enrolled in a detox program usually spend a few days at a hospital or other medical facility.

After three months, 48 percent of those who went through rehab remained abstinent, compared with 15 percent of those who went through detox or who did not receive any treatment.

At one year, 20 percent of meth users who went through rehab were still not using the drug, compared with 7 percent of people in the other two groups. By three years, only 12 percent of those who went through rehab still were not using meth, compared with 5 percent of the others.

The study is published in the journal Addiction.


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