Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


The San Francisco Treatment Research Center (SFTRC) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is a Center funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse conducting a variety of studies focused on innovative treatments for substance abuse. Our research includes both psychosocial and pharmacologic trials in both randomized clinical trial and Phase I development forms. We conduct our work at UCSF and its affiliated sites at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and San Francisco General Hospital and the Habit Abatement Clinic.

San Francisco Treatment Research Center

There are 7 publications in this collection, published between 1999 and 2004.
Postprints from TRC (7)

Extended nortriptyline and psychological treatment for cigarette smoking

Objective: Accepted treatments for cigarette smoking rarely achieve abstinence rates of >35% at 1 year. Low rates may reflect failure to provide extended and multifocal treatment for this complex and chronic addiction. Using a chronic disease model of smoking, the authors undertook a study to determine the effects of long-term antidepressant and psychological treatment. Method: One hundred sixty smokers of greater than or equal to10 cigarettes/day were randomly assigned to one of four treatment conditions in a two-by-two (nortriptyline versus placebo by brief versus extended treatment) design. All subjects received 8 weeks of a transdermal nicotine patch, five group counseling sessions, and active or placebo treatment. Interventions for subjects in brief treatment ended at this point. Subjects in extended treatment continued taking drug or placebo to week 52 and received an additional 9 monthly counseling sessions, with checkup telephone calls midway through each session. Subjects were assessed at baseline and weeks 12, 24, 36, and 52. The principal outcome variables were repeated abstinence at each assessment after the first over a 1-year period and a point prevalence of 7 days of abstinence. Results: At week 52, point-prevalence abstinence rates with missing subjects imputed as smokers were 30% for placebo brief treatment, 42% for placebo extended treatment, 18% for active brief treatment, and 50% for active extended treatment. With missing subjects omitted, these rates were 32%, 57%, 21 %,and 56%, respectively. Conclusions: Comprehensive extended treatments that combine drug and psychological interventions can produce consistent abstinence rates that are substantially higher than those in the literature.

Substance abuse treatment initiation among older adults in the GET SMART program: effects of depression and cognitive status

This study examines how individual patient characteristics predict substance abuse treatment initiation among older adults, in an investigation based on the behavioral health service use model. Analyses tested the impact of demographic factors, substance abuse symptoms, depression and cognitive status on subsequent treatment initiation. The sample included 250 older male veterans screened for substance abuse problems during inpatient medical treatment, who also participated in a clinical evaluation for substance abuse treatment. Measures included demographics and CAGE alcohol screening score. A subset of patients also completed the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test-Geriatric Version (MAST-G), Hamilton Depression Scale (HAM-D), and Folstein Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE). Patients who initiated treatment following evaluation had more years of education, better cognitive status, and more symptoms of substance abuse and depression, compared with patients who did not initiate treatment. In logistic regression analysis, CAGE and MMSE scores independently predicted treatment initiation. Findings contribute to the understanding of how clinical characteristics of older adults affect substance abuse treatment initiation.

Predictors of Alcohol Treatment Seeking in a Sample of Older Adults in the GET SMART Program

Objective: To examine the predictive value of demographic characteristics and substance abuse indicators to explain treatment seeking for substance abuse problems among older male medical patients. Design: Longitudinal analysis of screening data and treatment seeking behavior. Setting: Inpatient medical and outpatient substance abuse treatment center. Participants: Participants in the study were 855 medically ill male veterans aged 55 and over, who were screened for alcohol problems during inpatient medical treatment after clinician referral. Measurements: The CAGE alcohol screen, drug use and demographic measures administered at time of screening. Predictors of treatment seeking in the sample were examined using structural equation modeling. Results: Expressed interest in treatment and later attendance at a pre-treatment evaluation were associated with younger age and a higher CAGE alcohol screening score. Being unmarried and using drugs in addition to alcohol were associated with treatment interest but not with evaluation attendance. In the path model tested, the effect of higher CAGE score partially explained the effect of younger age on treatment seeking. Conclusions: The model examined shows utility in predicting alcohol treatment seeking in this sample. Age-related factors may deter treatment seeking among older male medical inpatients.

4 more worksshow all