Process and predictors of drug treatment referral and referral uptake at the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre

Drug and Alcohol Review
Jo KimberJake A Rance


Low-threshold drug services such as drug consumption rooms (DCRs) have been posited as referral gateways to drug treatment for injecting drug users (IDUs). We examined the process and predictors of drug treatment referral and referral uptake at an Australian DCR. We undertook behavioural surveillance of the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) client cohort between May 2001 and October 2002. Data were collected for 3715 IDUs on demographics, injecting and drug use behaviours at registration and all subsequent MSIC service utilisation, including referrals. Referral uptake (defined as presentation for assessment at the relevant agency) was traced via reply-paid postcards included with written referrals. Sixteen per cent of clients who received written referrals to drug treatment had confirmed drug treatment referral uptake. Factors associated with drug treatment referral were frequent MSIC attendance [adjusted odds ratios (AOR = 9.4], receipt of written health (AOR = 4.8) or psychosocial (AOR = 4.3) referrals, heroin as main drug injected (AOR = 1.9) and completion of high school education (AOR = 1.6). Factors associated positively with drug treatment referral uptake were recent sex work (AOR = 2.6) and at least da...Continue Reading


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