Researchers Find Links to Drug Relapse: Study

sartjA team of researchers at McMaster University has found a relationship between age and the likeliness of relapse during drug addiction treatment. The results of the research, which studied 250 adults who had been receiving methadone treatment for four years, on average, found that risk factors for a relapse was determined by “a number of factors.”

One of the factors identified by the McMaster researchers as contributing to the probability of a relapse was the age at which a person first started using drugs. The results were published in the journal Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment.

• For each year that a person avoided drug use, there was a corresponding 10 percent increase in the risk of a relapse.

• Drug users who used needles were more than twice as likely to relapse by taking opioids while undergoing substance abuse treatment than people who used another method to take drugs. Opioids are medications which act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Examples include OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Percodan and Demerol.

• The findings for benzodiazepine use is even more startling. For each day of use in the previous 30 days, there is a seven percent increase in relapse. Current age brings with it a seven percent reduction in risk of relapse. (As a user ages, they are less likely to experience a relapse.) Benzodiazepines, or “benzos” are a class of drugs commonly prescribed to treat anxiety or insomnia. Examples of these medications include Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, Librium, Halcion, and Valium.

The United States and Canada are the largest consumers in the world of prescription opioids to treat pain. These medications carry with them a high risk for addiction. Methadone is commonly used to treat patients who have developed a substance abuse issue while taking opioid medications, although a study has found that almost half (46 percent) of clients continue to use opioids while undergoing their treatment.

Prescription drug addiction is a serious issue requiring treatment by caring professionals. If you are concerned about someone you love who has developed a dependency on prescription medication, contact us today. We can help you find the right treatment center.