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Treatment Retention and Follow-Up Outcomes in the Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Study (DATOS)

NCJ Number
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors Volume: 11 Issue: 4 Dated: special issue (December 1997) Pages: 294-307
D D Simpson; B S Brown; G W Joe
Date Published
14 pages
On the basis of findings by Hubbard et al. (1997) that clients reduced their drug taking and related problem behaviors in the year after treatment, this study used data from the Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Study (DATOS) to re-evaluate the relationship of length of treatment with follow-up outcomes using a quasi-experimental approach, along with analytical procedures designed for use with multisite data.
Three major drug abuse treatment modalities were examined: long-term residential programs (LTR), outpatient drug-free programs (ODF), and outpatient methadone treatment (OMT) programs. A total of 10,010 clients were originally admitted to 96 programs in 11 cities that participated in the DATOS project during 1991 to 1993. This study involved 2,774 admissions to 21 LTR programs, 2,574 admissions to 32 ODF programs, and 1,540 admissions to 29 OMT programs. Clients reported significant overall improvements in drug use and related measures during a 12-month follow-up period. A quasi-experimental design was used to examine the relationship of treatment duration with outcomes in each of the three major modalities represented. Client subsamples with longer retention in long-term residential programs and in outpatient methadone treatment had significantly better outcomes than those with shorter lengths of stay (results were inconclusive for outpatient drug-free programs because of sample limitations). This study used several methodological enhancements and showed general continuity of findings on retention effects from previous national evaluations of treatment effectiveness. It supports the need for more careful study of treatment process in relation to outcomes. 4 tables and 42 references