Client and Program Characteristics Associated with Wait Time to Substance Abuse Treatment Entry

School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago , Chicago, IL , USA.
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Impact Factor: 1.78). 07/2012; 39(1). DOI: 10.3109/00952990.2012.694515
Source: PubMed


Background: Wait time is among the most commonly cited barriers to access among individuals seeking entry to substance abuse treatment, yet relatively little is known about what contributes to it. Objectives: To address this gap, this study draws from a national sample of substance abuse treatment clients and programs to estimate the proportion of clients entering treatment who waited more than 1 month to receive it (outpatient, residential, or methadone) and to identify client and program characteristics associated with wait time. Methods: This study used data from the National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study (1992-1997). The data include 2920 clients from 57 substance abuse treatment programs. Generalized linear modeling was used to identify client and program characteristics associated with wait time to treatment entry. Results: Results of modeling indicate that being African-American (OR: 1.40; CI: 1.04, 1.88), being referred by criminal justice (OR: 1.70; CI: 1.18, 2.43), and receiving methadone (OR: 3.90; CI: 1.00, 15.16) were associated with increased odds of waiting more than 1 month. Conversely, having a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS (OR: 0.38; CI: 0.19, 0.77) was associated with decreased odds of waiting for more than 1 month. Conclusion: A significant proportion of clients waited more than 1 month on enter treatment. Greater odds of such wait times were associated with being African-American, criminal justice-referred, and receiving methadone. Significance: This study is the first to use a national sample to examine the prevalence of wait time to substance abuse treatment entry and to identify client and program characteristics associated with it.

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