Archive for March, 2017

12-Step Sponsorship Associated with Positive Outcomes for Stimulant Users

March 30, 2017

Mutual support groups are free, readily available, and cost-effective resources for supporting long-term recovery from substance use disorders.

In particular, 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, are popular and generally seen as an integral part of an international shift toward a chronic-care model of addiction treatment and recovery.

One frequently theorized mechanism for the efficacy of 12-step groups is social support, or the “fellowship” aspect, particularly “sponsorship,” in which a 12-step participating in long-term, stable recovery voluntarily serves as a role model and supportive guide to a fellow participant in earlier recovery.

Previous studies on 12-step sponsorship have focused almost exclusively on Alcoholics Anonymous and individuals with alcohol use disorders. This secondary data analysis by Dennis Wendt and others from the Pacific Northwest Node, however, explored predictors and outcomes of having a 12-step sponsor among individuals receiving treatment for stimulant use disorders, inclusive of four types of 12-step groups (Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and Crystal Meth Anonymous).

The analysis used data from the CTN Stimulant Abuse Groups to Engage in 12-Step (STAGE-12) protocol (CTN-0031), a multisite randomized trial in which participants receiving treatment for stimulant use disorder (N=471, 59% women) were randomized into treatment as usual (TAU) or a 12-step facilitation (TSF) intervention (STAGE-12).

Logistic regression analyses explored the extent to which participants obtained sponsors, including the extent to which treatment condition and other predictors (12-step experiences, expectations, and beliefs) were associated with having a sponsor.

The relationship between end-of-treatment sponsorship and follow-up substance use outcomes was also tested.

Results found that participants were more likely to have a sponsor at the end of treatment and 3-month follow-up, with the STAGE-12 condition having higher sponsorship rates.

Twelve-step meeting attendance and literature reading during the treatment period predicted having a sponsor at the end of treatment. Sponsorship at the end of treatment predicted a higher likelihood of abstinence from stimulant user and having no drug-related problems at follow-up.

Conclusions: This study extends previous research on sponsorship, which has mostly focused on alcohol use disorders, by indicating that sponsorship is associated with positive outcomes for those seeking treatment from stimulant use disorders. It also suggests that sponsorship rates can be improved for those seeking treatment from stimulant use disorders through a short-term TSF intervention.

Citation: Wendt DC, et al. Predictors and Outcomes of Twelve-Step Sponsorship of Stimulant Users: Secondary Analyses of a Multisite Randomized Clinical Trials. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 2017;78:287-295.


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Congratulations to Molly Carney, Director of ETS!

March 21, 2017

Molly Carney, PhD, MBA of Evergreen Treatment Services

The Pacific Northwest Node is excited to announce that one of our CTP directors, Molly Carney, of Evergreen Treatment Services, will be receiving the Excellence in Advocacy – Individual Achievement award at the National Council for Behavioral Health meeting this April in Seattle!

The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Its annual Awards of Excellence honor the advocates and leaders advancing public policies that support improved quality of and access to care, organizations that promote excellence and build health communities, and the achievements of individuals with mental illnesses and addictions, their family members, and the professionals who care for them.

Molly Carney, PhD, MBA, is trained as a clinical psychologist and has worked in substance use disorder treatment since 1986, most recently as director of Evergreen Treatment Services, a private, nonprofit agency offering medication-assisted treatment for adults with opioid use disoders since 1973.

The Pacific Northwest Node says “Congratulations and thank you for your outstanding service!” to Dr. Carney!