The Recovery Line: A pilot trial of automated, telephone-based treatment for continued drug use in methadone maintenance

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2013 Jul;45(1):63-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2012.12.011. Epub 2013 Jan 30.


The current pilot study evaluated feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy of a therapeutic Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system ("the Recovery Line") for patients receiving methadone maintenance who continue to use illicit drugs. Patients were randomized (N=36) to 4weeks of treatment-as-usual (TAU) or Recovery Line plus TAU. Ratings of the Recovery Line were high and remained stable throughout the study. However, despite instructions and reminders, patients used substantially less than the recommended daily use (<10days of 28). Patients were more likely to report abstinence from opioids and cocaine on days they used the Recovery Line (p=.01) than those they did not. Conditions did not differ significantly on patient satisfaction, urine screen outcomes, or coping efficacy. As with other computer-based treatments, findings suggest the Recovery Line is acceptable and feasible. However, additional methods to increase patient utilization of automated systems and larger clinical trials are needed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Automation
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methadone / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment / methods
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pilot Projects
  • Substance Abuse Detection
  • Telephone*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods


  • Methadone