updated 8/18/2005 3:18:49 PM ET 2005-08-18T19:18:49

Self-supporting group homes have high success rates in helping individuals recover from alcoholism and drug addiction, researchers from DePaul University reported Thursday.

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A pair of studies being presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association found success rates of 65 percent to 87 percent for the homes.

The benefits of communal living include a lower relapse rate and help keep individuals as productive members of society, reported lead author Leonard A. Jason. In addition, he noted, the houses operate at little or no cost to the taxpayer.

Jason and co-authors studied residents of Oxford House, a network of group homes across the country serving recovering addicts. Each resident pays a share of the costs and can be evicted if detected using drugs or alcohol.

One study compared 75 people who went into an Oxford House after detoxification with 75 others who went to halfway houses or returned to the community. After two years 65 percent of the Oxford House residents were still clean and sober compared to 31 percent of the others, Jason said.

The second study began with a national sample of 897 Oxford House residents. After a year 607 remained in the study and, of those, 87 percent reported they were still off alcohol and drugs.

Those who dropped out of the study had previously reported higher rates of drug and alcohol use than those who stayed in, the report noted. It said those who dropped out were younger and had spent less time in the home than those who remained.

The program seemed to work equally well for men and women, the researchers said, and there were no significant differences among racial groups in the program.

The Oxford House program was founded 30 years ago in Montgomery County, Md., and currently has 1,123 houses across the country and in Canada and Australia. While some states have loan programs to help get houses started, each house is otherwise self-supporting and is governed by its own residents.

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