Improvement in psychopathology among opioid-dependent adolescents during behavioral-pharmacological treatment

Sarah K. Moore, Lisa A. Marsch, Gary J. Badger, Ramon Solhkhah, Yariv Hofstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine changes in behavioral and emotional problems among opioid-dependent adolescents during a 4-week combined behavioral and pharmacological treatment. Methods: We examined scales of behavioral and emotional problems in youth using the Youth Self-Report measure at the time of substance abuse treatment intake and changes in scale scores during treatment participants were 36 adolescents (aged 13-18 years, eligible) who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria for opioid dependence. Participants received a 28-day outpatient, medication-assisted withdrawal with either buprenorphine, or clonidine, as part of a double-blind, double dummy comparison of these medications. All participants received a common behavioral intervention, composed of 3 individual counseling sessions per week, and incentives contingent on opioid-negative urine samples (collected 3 times/week) attendance and completion of weekly assessments. Results: Although a markedly greater number of youth who received buprenorphine remained in treatment relative to those who received clonidine, youth who remained in treatment showed significant reductions during treatment on 2 Youth Self-Report grouping scales (internalizing problems and total problems) and 4 of the empirically based syndrome scales (somatic, social, attention, and thought). On Youth Self-Report competence and adaptive scales, no significant changes were observed. There was no evidence that changes in any scales differed across medication condition. Conclusions: Youth who were retained demonstrated substantive improvements in a number of clinically meaningful behavioral and emotional problems, irrespective of pharmacotherapy provided to them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-271
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Addiction Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Opioid-dependence
  • Psychopathology
  • Treatment


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