April 22, 2009
Online drug-treatment programs could be as effective in the short-term as traditional in-person counseling, according to new research from Johns Hopkins and the Institute for Behavior Resources in Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reported April 19.
Thirty-seven study participants enrolled in a methadone program were divided into two groups: a traditional counseling group and one that met via online video conferencing. Researchers reported the attendance of the online eGetGoing participants after six weeks was 90 percent, compared with 76 percent for the traditional treatment group.
“That’s excellent in our treatment setting, and quite frankly in most treatment settings,” said Van King, the study’s lead author.
The online participants also were more likely to report that they liked the treatment program than the live-meeting participants. Researchers said that the privacy of online counseling helps to remove the stigma of drug treatment for many people with addiction problems.
The researchers acknowledged that the study did not investigate the long-term effectiveness of online treatment and said online sessions may not be practical for addicts lacking Internet access.
The study appeared in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.