A Rehab Puts the Damper on Smoking

The nonprofit Overview Foundation, Canaan, Conn., carried out an expansion of efforts of its Mountainside Treatment Center to incorporate nicotine dependence into its substance abuse treatment program.

The center is a 50-bed facility that opened in 1998 to provide non-medical inpatient treatment of alcohol and drug abuse. The center's management believes tobacco use makes recovery from alcohol and drug abuse more difficult and is committed to addressing nicotine as a mood-altering addictive substance.

At the time of the grant, Mountainside already provided smokers with nicotine patches, tobacco-education sessions, and resident-run group meetings. The facility wished to develop a stronger program to help residents become nicotine-free.

Key Results

  • As part of its greater emphasis on nicotine addiction, Mountainside developed an ongoing program that:

    • Conducts nicotine dependence assessments for residents who use tobacco.
    • Offers individual and group sessions on tobacco cessation.
    • Makes tobacco-cessation literature and videos directly available to residents.
    • Organizes tobacco-specific projects and activities.
  • The project resulted in:

    • Increased visibility and understanding of nicotine as a drug of addiction by staff, patients, and families.
    • A deepened commitment to the goals of the nicotine dependence program among staff.
    • A shift in the attitude of residents away from tobacco use as a matter of civil rights and "choice" and towards it being an important factor in health and recovery.

      At least 75 percent of residents try to stop smoking and about 10 percent remain tobacco-free after they leave the program, program staff reports.