A stepped care approach for reducing cannabis use in opioid-dependent outpatients

Michael Kidorf, Karin Neufeld, Van L. King, Michael Clark, Robert K. Brooner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study evaluated rates of cannabis use and the effectiveness of an adaptive stepped care intervention for reducing cannabis use in methadone maintenance patients. Patients testing cannabis positive during a 6-month baseline were advanced to more weekly counseling (up to 9 hours per week) until producing four consecutive weeks of cannabis- and other drug-negative urine samples. Patients were followed up for 1 year. Continued access to uninterrupted methadone delivery was ultimately contingent upon attending scheduled counseling and achieving abstinence from all drug use. The results showed that 18% of the clinic census (n = 57) tested positive for cannabis. The effectiveness of the intervention was assessed for 15 patients testing positive for cannabis exclusively. Ten of these patients (67%) discontinued cannabis use prior to the intervention and remained at reduced care. Four of the five patients who were advanced to higher steps of care ultimately discontinued cannabis use; one left treatment against medical advice. The results suggest that motivated stepped care is an effective intervention for reducing cannabis use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-347
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive treatment
  • Cannabis use
  • Methadone treatment
  • Opioid dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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