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Social network predictors of treatment entry among inner-city drug users

Carl A. Latkin, PhD, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N Broadway, Room 737, Baltimore, MD 21205, 410-955-3972, clatkin@jhsph.edu, Wei Hua, MS, MD, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 1629 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, Karin E. Tobin, MHS, Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 1629 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, and Steffanie A. Strathdee, PhD, Division of International Health and Cross Cultural Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, Ash Building, La Jolla, CA 92093-0622.

Few studies have examined social environmental factors that lead opiate and cocaine users to seek and maintain drug treatment. Identifying these factors may assist in the development of programs to facilitate entry into drug treatment programs. For the present study, data from the SHIELD (Self-Help In Eliminating Life-threatening Disease) study, an HIV prevention intervention for inner-city drug users, were used to examine the association between social network characteristics and use of drug treatment. Participants in the drug using community were recruited through targeted outreach in areas with high levels of drug activity in Baltimore, MD. A baseline interview assessed social network characteristics, patterns of drug use, and HIV risk behaviors. A follow-up survey, nine months after the baseline, examined drug treatment in the prior six months. 759 participants who reported using heroin at baseline were included in the analyses; of whom 114 individuals who reported methadone treatment in the prior six months. In a stepwise multivariate logistic regression model, statistically significant social network predictors of use of methadone treatment included less overlap of drug and sex networks, larger female kin networks, smaller injection networks, fewer drug users in support networks, and fewer network members with whom the participants shared drugs on a daily bases. The results of this study suggest that it may be useful to assess network factors to increase our understanding of social factors that may facilitate and impede drug treatment. The findings of the relationship between sex partnersí drug use and participantsí use of methadone treatment is especially important considering that there are few treatment programs that enroll couples.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Drug Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse Treatment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Treatment Entry and Retention

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA