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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2005;31(2):337-56.

Coerced treatment for methamphetamine abuse: differential patient characteristics and outcomes.

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Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, University of California, Los Angeles, 1640 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA.


Policymakers have responded to the increase in the prevalence of methamphetamine (MA) use and the associated social costs (such as crime and child abuse and neglect) by mandating a growing number of MA users to substance abuse treatment via the criminal justice system (CJS) and/or child protective service (CPS) agencies. However, empirical evidence remains sparse about treatment outcomes specifically for MA users who report that their treatment admission occurred under such pressures. This analysis uses natural history interview data from 350 clients treated for MA use in Los Angeles County to examine clients' self-reported CJS/CPS pressure to enter treatment, comparing background and treatment characteristics and selected treatment outcomes across groups defined by existence of such perceived pressure and source of pressure. Approximately half the clients reported legal pressure to enter the index (used for sampling) treatment episode. Those reporting pressure were younger, less likely to have received residential treatment, and had longer treatment episodes than those not reporting pressure. Outcomes (treatment completion, relapse within 6 months, time to relapse, and percentage of days with MA use in 24 months following treatment) did not differ significantly in simple comparisons between the pressured and nonpressured groups; however, when client and treatment characteristics were controlled, the short term outcome of relapse within 6 months was worse for those reporting legal pressure. Outcomes did not differ by source of pressure.

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