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Drugs (Abingdon Engl). 2018;25(2):173-180. doi: 10.1080/09687637.2016.1189875. Epub 2016 Nov 6.

Effects of Distance to Treatment on Subsequent Alcohol Consumption.

Author information

Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA, USA.



Distance and travel time are barriers to attending and completing drug and alcohol treatment. Few studies have examined proximity to treatment in relation to long-term outcomes.


Aims were to examine effects of distance to treatment on alcohol consumption in the year after treatment intake; assess moderation of distance effects by treatment type; and test mediators of effects of distance to treatment on later alcohol use.


Data from clients in inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment programs in California (n=560) were used in linear regression models.


There was a significant interaction between treatment type and distance on later drinking, with a significant positive association of distance to treatment with alcohol use after treatment for inpatient clients only. Among inpatient clients, none of the mediators significantly explained the relationship between a longer distance to treatment and greater subsequent alcohol use.


Inpatient clients may benefit from customized post-treatment recommendations to identify recovery resources near home.


alcohol treatment; geographic availability; treatment outcomes

Conflict of interest statement

Declarations of Interest The authors have no conflicts of interest to report. Funding for the current analysis was received from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant R01AA020328. The original longitudinal study was supported by NIAAA grants R01AA09750, P50AA005595, and R01AA015927. The NIAAA had no role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

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