Most addicts who leave drug treatment centre remain clean

Independent study shows success of treatment at Coolmine facility


Almost three-quarters of residents who came through the Coolmine’s treatment and rehabilitation programme were drug free after two years, a new study has found.

The independently produced figures collated by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) demonstrate that the treatment programme works, the chairman of the Coolmine Therapeutic Community Alan Connolly has stated.

The Coolmine model of treatment achieves quality outcomes and consequently delivers value for money to Government and state agency funders,” he said.

“It is important that funders can see the value of such funding in terms of outcomes. This independent evidence based research clearly shows that 72 per cent of our clients remain drug-free two years after they commenced treatment,” he said.”

The Minister for Health Leo Varadkar will launch Pathways Through Treatment, the first longitudinal study tracking Coolmine clients, on Monday.

The Therapeutic Community (TC) approach to addiction treatment was introduced in 1973. It is primarily a self-help approach in which residents are responsible for their own recovery with peers and staff acting as facilitators of change. The residents are expected to help each other out in what is known as “community as method”.

It is a lengthy process in comparison with other treatment centres. The study demonstrates that 62 per cent of all clients that entered Coolmine remained in the programme 6 months following intake.

The treatment also showed a dramatic improvement in outcomes for those who leave it. Almost all, 98 per cent of clients, are not involved in criminal activity after two years and employment rose from 3 per cent on entering the treatment facility to 24 per cent. Engagement in education rose from 2 per cent to 17 per cent two years later.

A total of 144 clients participated in the study ranging in ages from 18 to 50 years. The study gathered data on treatment retention, substance use, physical health, psychological health, social functioning and criminal activity of men and women who commenced treatment at Coolmine to overcome their addiction to illicit drugs.

“These results highlight the need for further investment in the treatment and rehabilitation” Mr Connolly said.