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November 1982

Residence Relocation Inhibits Opioid Dependence

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(11):1313-1317. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290110065011

• Residence relocation affected opioid drug use among 248 addicts in San Antonio, Tex. One hundred seventy-one subjects reported a total of 465 relocations away from San Antonio during a mean follow-up period of 20 years. Subjects were voluntarily abstinent 54% of the time during relocation and 12% of the time during San Antonio residence. The frequency of one-year abstinence after relocation (17%) was nearly three times greater than that after 1,654 treatment and correctional interactions (6%). Treatment preceding relocation led to a notably higher frequency of abstinence (31%). When abstinent subjects returned to San Antonio, they resumed opioid use within one month in 81% of the cases. Possible explanatory factors include drug availability, conditioned abstinence, and peer modeling. The findings suggest that relocation of patients should often be encouraged rather than discouraged.