Practice variation and length of stay in alcohol and drug detoxification centers

Jeffrey N. Jonkman, Dennis McCarty, Henrick J. Harwood, Sharon Lise Normand, Yael Caspi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Admissions to 20 publicly funded alcohol and drug detoxification centers in Massachusetts were examined to identify program and patient variables that influenced length of stay. The last admission during fiscal year 1996 was abstracted for patients 18 years of age and older seeking alcohol, cocaine, or heroin detoxification (n = 21,311; 29% women). A hierarchical generalized linear model examined the effects of patient and program characteristics on variation in length of stay and tested case-mix adjustments. Program size had the most influence on mean adjusted length of stay; stays were more than 40% longer in detoxification centers with 35 or more beds (7.69 days) than in centers with less than 35 beds (5.42 days). The study highlights the contribution of program size to treatment processes and suggests the need for more attention to program attributes in studies of patient outcomes and treatment processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Detoxification
  • Length of stay
  • Program size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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