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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2007;33(5):699-705.

A preliminary comparison of major kinds of obstacles to enrolling in substance abuse treatment (AOD) reported by injecting street outreach clients and other stakeholders.

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  • 1New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, New York, New York 10018-5903, USA.


Injecting drug users (IDU) (n=144), street outreach (n=55), and treatment program (n=71) staff and managers in stakeholder government agencies (n=11) cited or mentioned many barriers to enrolling in substance abuse treatment (AOD), using varied assessment instruments (1). Here, we aimed to investigate a possible overemphasis on individual client factors (e.g., "readiness," denial) as barriers to enrollment and the relative importance of other kinds of barriers, e.g., limitations using a four-category classification of: individual client factors (IC), treatment accessibility (TAX), treatment availability (AVL), and (lack of) client acceptability (CA), reflecting stigmatization of IDUs. TAX responses predominated for outreach staff (51%), government managers (39%), and barriers implied by client suggestions (52%). IC (60%) followed by TAX (36%) factors characterized barriers clients generated directly. The IC factor thus appears overrepresented among IDUs and TAX is important for all groups suggesting a greater focus on access may be more cost-effective than on individual treatment motivation interventions.

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