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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2001 Jun;20(4):265-73; discussion 275-6.

Does centralized intake improve drug abuse treatment outcomes?

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  • 1Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA.


This study was designed to assess whether centralized intake and assessment in a drug abuse treatment system would lead to improved outcomes. Clients entering treatment through a centralized intake unit (CIU) or through individual programs (non-CIU) were interviewed at admission, and at 1 month and 1 year postadmission. Interviews included measures of treatment access and satisfaction, psychiatric symptoms, social support, and Addiction Severity Index composite scores. At treatment entry, CIU participants had more employment and psychological problems and lower social support, were more often required to be in treatment, and were more often placed on a waiting list. In analyses controlling for baseline differences between groups, there were main effects of time, but no CIU status effects or CIU status by time interactions. The CIU may have improved access to treatment for a more disabled population; however, clients entering treatment through the CIU did not have better outcomes than those entering treatment directly.

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