Deborah Chassler

Boston University, Boston, MA, United States

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Publications (20)29.56 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Prior studies by the authors identified that clinical staff who reported that their treatment unit had lower levels of organizational readiness to change experienced higher levels of barriers in implementing an evidence-based practice (EBP). The current study examined whether clinical staff perceptions of their treatment unit's organizational readiness to change were also associated with their adherence to EBP protocols during EBP implementation. Adherence was examined through a variable measuring the extent to which staff modified EBP standards and manuals when implementing a new EBP. Multivariate regression analyses identified that clinical staff who had five or more years of addiction counseling experience, who rated staff in their organization as having higher levels of influence, who less frequently implemented new counseling interventions and who reported higher levels of barriers when implementing a newly funded EBP also reported that their program made more modifications to the EBP in the implementation process. Finally, staff who implemented MI compared to any other EBP reported lower levels of EBP modifications. Implications: Continued federal funding is needed to enhance treatment unit organizational resources in order to reduce barriers and promote adherence to EBPs. Also, funders of treatment need to continue to provide ongoing technical assistance and training opportunities to promote implementation of EBPs with fidelity.
    Journal of substance abuse treatment 08/2013; · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded study (2009-2011), treatment staff (n = 178) from 330 federally funded U.S. addiction treatment programs provided data through semistructured telephone interviews about factors that facilitated their implementation of four evidence-based practices (EBPs). Such studies can assist the addiction field in improving EBP implementation and ultimately, client care. Research questions: What factors were identified as facilitating implementation of the four EBPs? And, Do facilitating factors vary by EBP? Coders classified facilitating factors (n = 518) using a six-category schema. Results showed that although facilitating factors varied by EBP, organization-related factors dominated. Study implications and limitations are described.
    Substance Use &amp Misuse 06/2013; · 1.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using a sample of 280 Puerto Rican drug users with a history of incarceration residing in Massachusetts, we explore whether a significant association exists between social and economic factors (maintaining social network contacts, receiving public assistance) and lifetime incarceration. Analysis of survey data using regression methods shows that respondents who live in their own home, receive public assistance, and have recent familial contact are significantly less likely to have been incarcerated in the past 6 months. Among study participants, men and those who initiated heroin use at younger ages are more likely to have greater lifetime incarceration totals. Practice implications are discussed.
    Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse 01/2013; 12(2):179-95.
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    ABSTRACT: In-person interview data from 13,903 individuals assessed for a drug use disorder in the Swedish welfare system from 2002-2008, were analyzed using logistic regression methods. Second generation immigrants with non-Scandinavian parents were 41% more likely to report a history of compulsory treatment compared to those born in Sweden to Swedish parents after controlling for age, gender, education, mental health treatment homeless status history, and criminal justice history. Implications include the need to study acculturation, stigma, and discrimination-related factors as well as to promote culturally competent outreach to immigrant populations.
    Substance Use &amp Misuse 11/2011; 47(1):67-77. · 1.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prior studies have identified that working in an addiction treatment unit with higher levels of organizational capacity is a factor associated with positive staff attitudes about evidence-based addiction treatment practices (EBPs). The study presented here explored whether staff perceptions about the organizational capacity of their treatment unit are also associated with staff experience of barriers to implementing EBPs. Multivariate regression methods examined the relationship between the clinical staff (n = 510) and director (n = 296) perceptions of organizational capacity (Texas Christian University Organizational Readiness for Change [TCU ORC]-staff and TCU ORC-director) and level of barriers experienced when implementing a new EBP controlling for a range of treatment unit characteristics, staff characteristics, and type of EBP implemented. For both samples, reporting higher levels of stress in their organizations was significantly associated with reporting higher levels of barriers when implementing a new EBP. For clinical staff only, experiencing lower levels of program needs in their organization, working in a program that had been in existence for a shorter period, and implementing motivational interviewing techniques compared with other EBPs were all factors significantly associated with experiencing lower levels of barriers with EBP implementation.
    Journal of substance abuse treatment 10/2011; 42(3):231-8. · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This national study of addiction-treatment organizations' implementation of evidence-based practices examines: (1) organizational/leadership factors associated with director (n = 212) attitudes regarding staff resistance to organizational change, and (2) organizational/staff factors associated with staff (n = 312) attitudes regarding evidence-based clinical training. Linear regression analyses, controlling for type of treatment unit, leadership/staff characteristics and organizational readiness to change, identified that directors who perceived their organization needed more guidance and had less staff cohesion and autonomy rated staff resistance to organizational change significantly higher. Staff with higher levels of education and greater agreement that their organization supported change had greater preference for evidence-based trainings. Federal addiction treatment policy should both promote education and training of treatment staff and organizational development of treatment CBOs. 
    American Journal on Addictions 03/2011; 20(3):271-84. · 1.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This qualitative study explored barriers to implementing evidence-based practices (EBPs) in community-based addiction treatment organizations (CBOs) by comparing staff descriptions of barriers for four EBPs: Motivational Interviewing (MI), Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA), Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), and Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT). The CBOs received CSAT/SAMHSA funding from 2003 to 2008 to deliver services using EBPs. Phone interview responses from 172 CBO staff directly involved in EBP implementation were analyzed using content analysis, a method for making inferences and developing themes from the systematic review of participant narratives (Berelson, 1952). Staff described different types of barriers to implementing each EBP. For MI, the majority of barriers involved staff resistance or organizational setting. For A-CRA, the majority of barriers involved specific characteristics of the EBP or client resistance. For CBT, the majority of barriers were associated with client resistance, and for ACT, the majority of barriers were associated with resources. EBP designers, policy makers who support EBP dissemination and funders should include explicit strategies to address such barriers. Addiction programs proposing to use specific EBPs must consider whether their programs have the organizational capacity and community capacity to meet the demands of the EBP selected.
    Evaluation and program planning 03/2011; 34(4):382-9. · 0.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This qualitative research effort explored implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in 100 community-based addiction treatment organizations (CBOs) nationwide. The study describes CBO program director attitudes on: (1) satisfaction with EBPs they were mandated to implement; (2) the extent to which their organization modified the EBPs; (3) reasons for modifications; and, (4) the standards they used for modifications. Findings indicate that program directors were highly positive both about EBPs implemented and the modifications made to those EBPs. A broad range of modifications were identified; most common were adding or deleting intervention sessions in efforts to serve the needs of a specific client population. Given the addiction treatment field's lack of standards for modifying EBPs, it is not surprising that little consistency occurred in modification efforts. As government funders of addiction treatments require that CBOs implement EBPs, standards need to be created for modifying and adapting the EBPs while maintaining their fidelity.
    Addictive behaviors 01/2011; 36(6):630-5. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article describes the association between substance use, sexual identity, and seeing a health care provider on a regular basis for 257 men who have sex with men (MSM). Data from in-person interviews were gathered from MSM who resided in Massachusetts between 2003 and 2007. A logistic regression analysis that controlled for demographic characteristics, health insurance status, HIV/AIDS status, drug use, and social support revealed that MSM who identified as heterosexual, compared with those who identified as gay or bisexual, were 60% less likely to access a health care provider on a regular basis. Further, the likelihood of seeing a provider regularly was 54% lower for MSM who had used illegal drugs in the past 30 days and 32% higher for MSM who had more social support. Study limitations and implications are discussed.
    Substance Use &amp Misuse 01/2011; 46(4):452-9. · 1.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Client drop out from treatment is of great concern to the substance abuse field. Completion rates across modalities vary from low to moderate, not ideal since length of stay has been positively and consistently associated with better client outcomes. The study explored whether client characteristics shown to be related to retention were associated with treatment completion and treatment duration for a sample of 164 Latino substance users who entered a culturally focused residential program. In-person client interviews were conducted within a week of program admission. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine research questions. Clients most likely to drop out had self-reported co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses; they were 81% less likely to complete the program, suggesting that clients with mental health problems have a more difficult time remaining in residential treatment. Clients using drugs in the three months prior to entry were three and a half times more likely to be in the shorter stay group, and clients who lived in institutions prior to program entry were three times more likely to be in the longer-stay group. Factors contributing to drop out for this Latino sample were similar to those identified in the literature for non-Latino samples. Methods for addressing the needs of clients with co-occurring disorders are discussed.
    Evaluation and program planning 03/2008; 31(1):102-12. · 0.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined patterns of treatment entry by Puerto Rican, Central American, Dominican, and other Latino male injection drug users (IDUs) in the state of Massachusetts over the time period 1996-2002. Specifically, it explored whether these populations had different patterns relative to three paths: entry into detoxification only, entry into residential treatment, or entry into methadone maintenance. Using a state-level MIS dataset on all substance abuse treatment entries to all licensed treatment programs, bi-variate and logistic regression methods were employed to examine patterns of drug treatment utilization among Latino men residing in Massachusetts. Three logistic regression models, which controlled for age, education, homelessness, employment, history of mental health treatment, health insurance, criminal justice involvement, having injected drugs in the past month, and number of treatment entries, indicated that Puerto Rican men were significantly less likely to only use detoxification services and residential treatment services, and significantly more likely to enter methadone maintenance compared to Latino men from Central American, Dominican, or other Latino backgrounds. For example, Central American men were 2.4 times more likely to enter only detoxification programs and 54% less likely to enter methadone maintenance programs than Puerto Rican male IDUs. For program planning, include the need to (a) develop varied drug treatment services to meet the needs of non-homogenous Latino groups within the population, (b) tailor outreach efforts to effectively reach all Latino groups, and (c) increase awareness among practitioners of differential patterns of treatment utilization.
    Evaluation and program planning 03/2008; 31(1):92-101. · 0.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Utilizing a longitudinal database (1996-2002) with all intake information from entries to all licensed drug treatment programs in Massachusetts (N = 27,801), this study examined factors associated with multiple detoxification admissions by injection drug users (IDUs). Four logistic regression models were developed. Although our hypothesis was that the highest frequency treatment users (in the 95th percentile) would be those in the detoxification-only group, this was incorrect: the highest frequency detoxification users were those most likely to use detoxification along with methadone maintenance, outpatient counseling, and/or residential treatment. Health insurance was a key factor. Study implications, limitations, and future research directions are noted.
    Substance Use &amp Misuse 02/2008; 43(7):839-49. · 1.11 Impact Factor
  • Sunny Hyucksun Shin, Lena Lundgren, Deborah Chassler
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    ABSTRACT: Using a longitudinal state data base, 1996-2002, of all Injection Drug Users (IDU) (n = 37,227) admissions to all state-licensed drug treatment programs, this study examined differences in drug treatment entry patterns between younger IDUs (ages 18-25) compared to middle-age IDUs (ages 26-39) and older IDUs (over 40 years of age). Most of the younger IDUs were male, unemployed, and dependent on heroin. After controlling for factors known to affect type of drug treatment entered, younger IDUs were significantly more likely than their older counterparts to only use detoxification services and not enter additional treatment. Further, younger IDUs were significantly less likely to enter methadone maintenance and significantly more likely to enter residential treatment compared to older IDUs. Development of strategies to promote transition from detoxification to more comprehensive treatments and especially to methadone maintenance treatment is warranted.
    The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 02/2007; 33(2):217-25. · 1.55 Impact Factor
  • T Fitzgerald, L Lundgren, D Chassler
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined factors associated with reporting engaging in HIV/AIDS high-risk behaviours at two different time points spaced one year apart for a sample of 185 women who were active injection drug users (IDUs). The high-risk behaviours included injecting drugs in the past six months, having shared needles in the past six months and having engaged in unprotected sexual activity in the past thirty days. Through logistic regression modelling it was identified that living with a spouse at year one was significantly and positively associated with high-risk behaviours at both time points. Being prescribed medications for psychological or emotional problems as well as testing positive for the HIV/AIDS virus were significantly and negatively associated with reporting high-risk behaviours at both time points. These results suggest that spousal relationships may play an important role in HIV/AIDS high-risk behaviours of women drug users. An implication of this study is the need to focus on how spousal relationships and issues such as gender and empowerment should be incorporated into the design and implementation of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. The benefits of comprehensive mental health diagnosis and treatment services as well as HIV testing in reducing harm to female IDUs and their partners are also discussed.
    AIDS Care 02/2007; 19(1):67-74. · 1.60 Impact Factor
  • Deborah Chassler, Lena Lundgren, Joya Lonsdale
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    ABSTRACT: This study explored the frequency of drug treatment utilization by 36,081 injection drug users (IDUs) in Massachusetts, 1996-2002. A number of multiple and logistic regression analyses examined the relationship between demographic characteristics, parental status, level of and type of drug use, history of mental health treatment use, types of drug treatment entered, and the number of times an IDU had entered drug treatment for the seven-year time period. Homelessness, using heroin as the primary drug of choice, and health insurance status were all associated with number of treatments entered. Logistic regression analysis identified that health insurance was a key factor associated with more frequent treatment: those with private health insurance were ten times more likely to be in the 90th percentile (12-107 entries) with respect to number of treatment entries.
    American Journal on Addictions 11/2006; 15(6):440-9. · 1.74 Impact Factor
  • Lena M Lundgren, Maryann Amodeo, Deborah Chassler
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the relationship among mental health symptoms, drug treatment use, and needle sharing in a sample of 507 injection drug users (IDUs). Mental health symptoms were measured through the ASI psychiatric scale. A logistic regression model identified that some of the ASI items were associated with needle sharing in an opposing direction. Specifically, anxiety was significantly and positively associated with needle sharing. Using psychotropic medication was significantly and negatively associated with sharing needles. Those who had higher levels of drug injecting were more likely to share needles and those with an HIV-positive status were less likely to share needles. Finally, IDUs who reported high levels of drug treatment use (in the 75th percentile in terms of number of treatment admissions) were also more likely to share needles. Results suggest that treating mental health problems in IDUs who are not drug free could reduce HIV risk behaviors. The results also suggest the need to develop new intervention methods for high-level drug treatment users who may be "cycling" through treatment with low levels of treatment completion.
    AIDS Education and Prevention 01/2006; 17(6):525-39. · 1.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the relationship between substance abuse treatment use, health services use, HIV status, and emergency room/hospital use for 507 injection drug users (IDUs). Logistic regression models showed that mental health status, severity of drug use and private health insurance were significantly associated with having used emergency room/hospital services in the past six months. History of substance abuse treatment use, positive HIV/AIDS diagnosis, mental health service use, ethnic/racial background, gender, age, education and homelessness were not significant at either the bivariate or the multivariate level. These results point to the need to improve mental health screening and referrals through emergency room medical systems.
    American Journal on Addictions 05/2005; 14(3):268-80. · 1.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines whether female injection drug users (IDUs) who have a history of using mental health services (i.e., one or more psychiatric hospitalizations or counseling) enter types of drug treatment different from those of female IDUs who do not have a history of using mental health services. Data used for this exploration originate from a statewide drug-treatment database covering all women who entered drug treatment in the state of Massachusetts from 1996 to 2001. A total of 7776 women were included in the study. Through the use of logistic regression analysis, the study determined that those female IDUs who had a mental health service history, compared with female IDUs who had no such history, were about two-thirds more likely to enter substance abuse treatment other than detoxification only. Specifically, women with a mental health service history were about 66% more likely to enter substance abuse treatment modalities such as drug-free outpatient counseling, methadone maintenance, and/or long-term residential services rather than detoxification alone. This is a positive result, indicating that female IDUs who have mental health problems and therefore have high needs for effective substance abuse treatment are entering the more intensive and/or longer term modalities likely to lead to better outcomes. Possible factors accounting for this, including the referral process within detoxification centers, the role of community referral agents, and the experience women gain as a consequence of receiving services in more than one service system, are discussed.
    The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 02/2004; 30(1):101-20. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    Ruth I Freedman, Deborah Chassler
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    ABSTRACT: This article presents survey data about the health and behavioral characteristics of a randomly selected sample of 629 adults with mental retardation (MR) living in Massachusetts in 2000. The goals of this analysis were to: describe the health, behavioral, and functional characteristics of the sample; examine relationships between consumer health, behavior problems, and functioning; and analyze variations in health and behavior problems by type of residential setting (parent/relative home, community residence, or institutional setting). The authors analyzed data obtained from interviews with proxies (relatives, guardians, advocates, or program staff) on behalf of consumers and from state agency records. Chi-square analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between health, behavioral, and functional characteristics of consumers and differences in health and behaviors by type of residence. More than 80% of consumers were reported to have either "excellent" or "good" health. Overall health status did not significantly vary by residential type, but was significantly related to the presence of additional disabilities and some functional limitations. Several health and behavioral measures varied significantly by residential type: recent physical, dental, and ob/gyn exams; medication usage; problem behaviors; and functional level. As large numbers of individuals with MR reach adulthood and old age, public health and medical professionals face the challenges of addressing the health and behavioral needs of this population, preventing secondary health conditions, and improving environmental conditions that may influence health and mental health.
    Public Health Reports 01/2004; 119(4):401-8. · 1.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study compared whether self-reported mental health status was associated with likelihood of being abstinent from alcohol and drugs five years after baseline assessment for an addiction disorder in two representative samples; one from Sweden (n = 469) and one from the US (n = 667). Self-reported mental health status was measured through the ASI score of mental health symptoms and history of inpatient and/or outpatient treatment. Through logistic regression modeling the study controlled for demographic characteristics including age, gender, employment status and social network connection with individuals who do not use alcohol/drugs. For both the US and Swedish samples employment status and having a social network that does not use alcohol and drugs were associated with being likely to be abstinent from alcohol and drugs five years after initial assessment. For the US sample only, individuals who reported symptoms of anxiety were 50% more likely not to be abstinent from alcohol and drugs at follow-up. For the Swedish sample, current mental health status was not significantly associated with abstinence. However, reporting a lifetime history of inpatient psychiatric treatment at the baseline assessment was significantly associated with not being abstinent at 5 years post assessment; those with a lifetime history of inpatient mental health treatment were 47% less likely to report abstinence. While specific variables differ across Sweden and the US, psychiatric comorbid status, employment and social network are each associated with drug and alcohol abstinence cross-nationally.
    Journal of Addictive Diseases 32(2):180-193. · 1.46 Impact Factor