Drug Alcohol Depend 2018 04 21;185:278-284. Epub 2018 Feb 21.
Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.
Background: Optimizing the effectiveness of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment is critical in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) with limited opportunities for SUD treatment. This is the first study to identify targets for interventions to improve the quality of SUD treatment in a LMIC.
Method: We explored correlates of three indicators of treatment quality (treatment engagement, completion and abstinence at treatment exit) using data from a SUD performance measurement system implemented in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The sample included data from 1094 adult treatment episodes representing 53% of the treatment episodes in 2016. Using multivariate logistic regression analyses, we modeled socio-demographic, substance use and program correlates of treatment engagement, completion, and abstinence at treatment exit.
Results: Overall, 59% of patients completed treatment (48% of patients from outpatient services). Treatment completion was associated with greater likelihood of abstinence at treatment exit. Patients were more likely to complete treatment if they engaged in treatment, were older, and had more severe drug problems (characterized by daily drug use and heroin problems) and attended programs of shorter duration. Residential treatment was associated with greater likelihood of treatment engagement, completion, and abstinence at treatment exit.
Conclusion: Improving rates of outpatient treatment completion will enhance the effectiveness of South Africa's SUD treatment system. Interventions that promote engagement in treatment, particularly among younger patients; reduce program length through referral to step-down continuing care; and ensure better matching of drug problem to treatment level and type could improve rates of treatment completion.