A multi-site comparison of psychosocial approaches for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence


Richard A. Rawson
UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs
1640 S. Sepulveda Blvd
Suite 200
Los Angeles
CA 90025
Tel: 310 445 0874, ext. 311
E-mail: matrixex@ucla.edu


Aims  The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) Methamphetamine Treatment Project (MTP) is the largest randomized clinical trial of treatments for methamphetamine (MA) dependence to date. The objective of the study was to compare the Matrix Model, a manualized treatment method, with treatment-as-usual (TAU) in eight community out-patient settings in the Western United States.

Design  Over an 18-month period between 1999 and 2001, 978 treatment-seeking, MA-dependent people were randomly assigned to receive either TAU at each site or a manualized 16-week treatment (Matrix Model).

Setting  The study was conducted as an eight-site out-patient trial, with six sites located in California and one each in Montana and Hawaii.

Findings  In the overall sample, and in the majority of sites, those who were assigned to Matrix treatment attended more clinical sessions, stayed in treatment longer, provided more MA-free urine samples during the treatment period and had longer periods of MA abstinence than those assigned to receive TAU. Measures of drug use and functioning collected at treatment discharge and 6 months post-admission indicate significant improvement by participants in all sites and conditions when compared to baseline levels, but the superiority of the Matrix approach did not persist at these two timepoints.

Conclusions  Study results demonstrate a significant initial step in documenting the efficacy of the Matrix approach. Although the superiority of the Matrix approach over TAU was not maintained at the post-treatment timepoints, the in-treatment benefit is an important demonstration of empirical support for this psychosocial treatment approach.