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Addictions Centres and Interventions Information

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Addictions Centres and Interventions

Brief motivational interventions refer to discussions with alcohol and substance users which aim to bring about positive changes in their substance use related behaviour. Bernstein et al. (2005) note that these interventions have often been used for alcohol dependent individuals with promising results. For instance, a meta-analysis carried out on alcohol dependent individuals found that motivational intervention led to a reduction in drinking by more than half. Nonetheless, limited research exists to show whether or not this can be applied to drug abusers.

Bernstein et al. (2005) investigated this further. Specifically, they wanted to know whether a brief motivational intervention would encourage heroin and cocaine addicts to stop or reduce their drug intake. Half of the participants received a brief motivational intervention. This was conducted by a recovering substance user detailed to be working for the programme. Participants were given detailed information about treatment options, such as ways to access addiction centres. These were discussed according to their needs, and participants were provided with referral numbers to help them access such treatment. The researchers followed-up with the motivational intervention group ten days later to update and offer further support.

The control group received generic information, and were not given an opportunity to ask questions about it. The researchers did not call to follow up with the control group either.

Drug tests carried out six months later conveyed that participants who had received a brief motivational intervention were more likely to be abstinent from heroin and/or cocaine than those in the control group.  This suggests that interventions conducted by a peer may provide drug users with the motivation they need to seek help. Having the information tailored to individual requirements and being provided with the means to seek help may be an effective way of guiding people towards the help that they need.


Bernstein, J., Bernstein, E., Tassiopoulos, K., Heeren, T., Levenson, S., & Hingson, R. (2005). Brief motivational intervention at a clinic visit reduces cocaine and heroin use. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 77, 49-59.

Article published on 06/12/2020 by PCUG Addiction Treatment