July 15, 2021

Changes in admissions to addiction treatment facilities in California during COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a 28.3% decline in monthly addiction treatment initiations.

Larger declines occurred in those:

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  • without Medicaid coverage (-10.8%)
  • younger than 25 years (-15.6%)
  • who were employed (-11.6%)
  • with dependent living (-11.4%)
  • with social supports (-11.8%)
  • without mental illness (-10.5%)
  • with cannabis as the primary drug of abuse (-21.6%)
  • with criminal justice involvement (-13.1%)
  • who had been recently released from prison (-15.9%)
  • who were referred from a driving under the influence program or drug court (-11.5%)
  • who were referred from another community source (-16.1%).

Further research is needed to understand the cause of the decline in initiations and the extent to which it was because of reduced demand for services or reduced ability to supply treatment, the researchers say.


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