Closing the gaps: the impact of inpatient detoxification and continuity of care on client outcomes.

Journal of Psychoactive Drugs Suppl 6:303 (2010) PMID 21138207

Inpatient detoxification is a critical element of the continuum of care for chemically dependent individuals, especially for those unable to establish sobriety on an outpatient basis. This study evaluated the impact of one such detoxification program on client outcomes during the year after detoxification. The program was a public/private partnership between Ventura County, California, and Tarzana Treatment Center in Los Angeles. Before admission, applicants agreed to enroll in treatment after detoxification. Clients were contacted at one month post-admission and quarterly thereafter for one year to collect data, corroborated by county records, on treatment and outcome variables. The sample included 117 consecutive admissions between July 2007 and June 2009. Detoxification completion rates and follow-up treatment enrollment rates were substantial: 85% of the sample completed detoxification; 71% enrolled in treatment afterward. Client outcomes were positive, particularly for those enrolled in followup treatment: compared to clients not completing detoxification, and to client functioning in the year before admission, sobriety and employment rates increased, and rates of homelessness, arrests and days incarcerated decreased. The study concludes that public investment in inpatient detoxification services and aftercare is an effective means to decrease both individual and societal costs of addiction.