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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1992;18(4):429-44.

A comparison of alcohol and drug treatment clients: are they from the same population?

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  • 1Alcohol Research Group, Medical Research Institute, Berkeley, California 94709.


As part of the Alcohol Research Group's Community Epidemiology Laboratory, representative samples of clients from a northern California county's public alcohol and drug treatment systems were interviewed. This paper compares clients in alcohol treatment agencies (N = 381) with those in drug treatment agencies (N = 307). In the United States the traditional separation of the two systems is in question, as there is a belief that most clients of both systems have dual alcohol and drug problems. This study found that while large numbers of clients reported use of both alcohol and other drugs, important differences were found between the two treatment systems. Alcohol treatment clients reported significantly higher alcohol consumption rates and lower drug use than did drug treatment clients. However, a higher proportion of alcohol treatment clients reported consuming alcohol with other drugs and attributing problems to both alcohol and drugs than did drug treatment clients. Discriminant function analysis found sociodemographic characteristics, problems attributed to alcohol, and problems attributed to drugs to provide significant contributions in predicting membership in the alcohol versus the drug treatment system.

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