Estimates point to the existence of 60,000 heroin-addicted patients in Portugal. In this paper we present a study using a methodology, called sequential combined treatment, based on the following steps: (a) detoxification; (b) family assessment; (c) naltrexone, always administered to the patient by his parents; (d) family intervention and restructuring. Evaluation procedure included sociodemographic data, patient functioning, psychopathological aspects, depression, HIV check and urine sample analysis. Sixty-three heroin-abusing patients consecutively entering the program were studied. 70% of the patients adhered to the method and achieved 35.5 weeks of abstinence. After 1 year of treatment, 40% were still abstinent. Patient functioning and psychopathology also showed considerable improvement. Despite these encouraging results, further studies are necessary to evaluate this method within different groups of heroin addicts.
- Family therapy
- Heroin addiction