Substance use disorders (SUDs) include dependencies on alcohol, illicit and prescription drugs, and nicotine.
The researchers found that Veterans in the primary care treatment group were more than five times as likely to complete all 26 weeks.
Overall abstinence rates were the same between groups, and the primary care group had a smaller percentage of days with heavy drinking.
Of those with a SUD diagnosis, 55 to75 percent also received a diagnosis for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.
top top VA began researching SUDs in the 1940s, through studies on the characteristics of alcoholics that took place at the Northport, New York, VA Medical Center.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SUDs represent the leading cause of death in the United States.
Excessive alcohol use alone leads to about 88,000 premature deaths each year.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, VA collaborated with the White House's Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention in a comparison trial of two different types of methadone, a drug still used in treating heroin addicts. Marcus Rothschild of the New York VA Medical Center received VA's William S. Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania founded and became director of the Center for Studies of Addiction.
Middleton Award for outstanding scientific contributions and achievements in the areas of biomedical and bio-behavioral research relevant to Veterans' health care. At the center, VA and University of Pennsylvania researchers work to advance knowledge on the nature of addiction and the best ways to relieve this illness.
The goal is to help them make positive changes in their lifestyle and phase out their unhealthy alcohol use.