Models of intervention and care for psychostimulant users, 2nd edition - monograph series no. 51

Chapter 5: Psychosocial interventions

Page last updated: April 2004

Amanda Bakera, Linda Gowingb, Nicole K Leec and Heather Proudfootd
a Centre for Mental Health Studies, University of Newcastle, New South Wales
b Drug and Alcohol Services Council, South Australia
c Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre Inc.,Victoria
d National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, New South Wales

Key points:

  • There are clear signs that amphetamine use is increasing, however, there are few services in Australia that offer amphetamine-specific interventions;

  • several assessment instruments with good psychometric properties are available to assess aspects of psychostimulant use and dependence;

  • the literature is very limited in the number of well-conducted, controlled studies, but the available evidence suggests that outpatient cognitive behaviour therapy appears to be current best practice, although there is also some evidence that contingency management is effective;

  • the service context in which interventions are provided is important in attracting and retaining people who present at treatment facilities;

  • psychosocial approaches to psychostimulant dependence include outpatient interventions, residential treatment and therapeutic communities (TCs);

  • completion of treatment (both outpatient and in the TC context) is associated with better outcomes;

  • enhancement of residential treatment with behaviour therapy or cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is also associated with better outcomes; and

  • service delivery may be enhanced by considering the following issues: attracting and retaining clients; establishing treatment partnerships; and monitoring and evaluating services.
This chapter has drawn on key major reviews of the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for psychostimulant users (Baker & Lee, 2003; Gowing et al., 2001; Kamieniecki et al., 1998; Proudfoot & Teesson, 2000). The literature on psychosocial interventions among users of amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy is examined. The information in this chapter summarises material from existing major reviews and considers more recent significant published studies from expert knowledge of the area of IDU.