142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Effects of distance to treatment on subsequent alcohol consumption

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Jamie Heisey, MA , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
Jane Witbrodt, PhD , Public Health Institute, Alcohol Research Group, Emeryville, CA
Lee Ann Kaskutas, DrPH , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
Katherine J. Karriker-Jaffe, PhD , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA

Several studies have identified increasing distance and travel time as barriers to attending and completing mental health and substance abuse treatment; however, few studies have examined proximity to treatment in relation to post-treatment outcomes. The current study examines this relationship among a heterogeneous sample of residential/inpatient, detoxification and outpatient treatment program clients. We expected distance to treatment to matter more for outpatient clients than for inpatient or detox clients.


Participants (n=604) were part of a longitudinal study of clients recruited from 10 public and private substance abuse treatment programs in one Northern California county. Each individual’s distance to treatment from their recorded home address was calculated using a Geographic Information System. Linear regression analyses assessed whether effects of distance to treatment on total drink volume one year after treatment was moderated by treatment program type, controlling for problem severity, AA attendance after treatment, neighborhood disadvantage, and client demographic characteristics.


Results partially supported our hypothesis. Clients entering residential/inpatient or detox programs farther than 10 miles from home reported higher drink volumes at follow-up than those entering residential programs closer to home. Counter expectations, this relationship was not found for individuals entering outpatient programs.


For residential and detox treatment clients, a greater benefit derived from closer proximity to a program suggests staying within one’s cultural domain, being in a social environment with others who share similar beliefs and experiences, or being near family and other adjunctive community resources, may enhance recovery efforts.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe how inpatient, outpatient, and detox patients differ in drink volume patterns one year after treatment. Assess whether patientsí treatment type influences the relationship between proximity to treatment and alcoholic drink volume in the year after treatment. Discuss implications of treatment type and proximity to treatment for recovery strategies.

Keyword(s): Alcohol Use, Drug Abuse Treatment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the research question, ran the analyses, and interpreted the results.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.