Background—Efficacious interventions to reduce drug use and its consequences for club drug using populations are not apparent in the literature. We tested interviewer-(CAPI) and self-administered (ACASI) comprehensive health and social risk assessments as distinct interventions compared to waitlist control.

Methods—750 men and women ages 18-39 with multidrug use and heterosexual behavior were randomized in equal proportions to the three conditions. Instrumentation included well-tested measures of drug use, risky sex, mental distress and substance dependence.

Results—The sample was 56% male; mean age=25. Reported risk behaviors and health consequences did not differ by assessment modality. Adjusted HLM analyses showed a significant main effect of assigned condition on all outcomes. CAPI participants had greater reductions in drug use, risky sex, mental distress and substance dependence symptoms, and greater increases in abstinence, compared to ACASI intervention or control participants at 12 months, except that the CAPI and ACASI conditions had similar efficacy for reductions in drug use. Effect sizes for CAPI versus ACASI participants were d=0.2-0.3, and between CAPI and controls d=0.2-0.4. Effect sizes for improved outcomes between ACASI compared to controls were small to non-significant.

Conclusions—The study established the therapeutic benefit of interviewer interaction in reducing risky behavior among this young drug using population. The study demonstrated the efficacy and acceptability of a low threshold intervention in reducing drug use, sexual risk and related co-morbidities among a not-in-treatment young adult population that exhibits severe and complex levels of drug use, but that is also highly resistant to intervention.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, v. 78, p. 64-73.

© 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

This manuscript version is made available under the CC‐BY‐NC‐ND 4.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.

The document available for download is the author's post-peer-review final draft of the article.

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Funding Information

This research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse [grant number 5 R01 DA019048].