Community referral sources and entry of treatment-naïve clients into outpatient addiction treatment

Peter D. Friedmann, Stephenie C. Lemon, Michael D. Stein, Thomas A. D'Aunno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study assessed the association of sources of client referral with enrollment of treatment-naïve clients. Data from the 1995 (n = 618) and 2000 (n = 745) waves of the National Drug Abuse Treatment Survey (DATSS), a panel study of outpatient substance abuse treatment units (OSAT), were analyzed. Enrollment of treatment-naïve clients was defined as the percentage of OSAT clients who entered treatment in the past 30 days with no prior treatment for substance abuse. A generalized estimating equation model simultaneously assessed the association of each referral source with the dependent variable, while controlling for potential confounding and accounting for correlation of unit-level responses over time. In the multivariable model, OSAT units with a greater proportion of treatment naïve clients had received more referrals from employee assistance programs and the criminal justice system, and fewer referrals from mental health agencies. No effect of referral from medical or social service agencies was observed. These results highlight the role of coercive community institutions in treatment outreach efforts to persons in earlier phases of the "addiction career".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-115
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003


  • Coercion
  • Community-institutional relations
  • Criminal law
  • Occupational health care
  • Patient acceptance of health care
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Substance abuse treatment centers
  • Substance-related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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