Transitioning from detoxification to substance use disorder treatment: Facilitators and barriers

Christine Timko, Nicole R. Schultz, Jessica Britt, Michael A. Cucciare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Although successful transitions from detoxification to substance use disorder treatment are associated with improved outcomes, many detoxification patients do not initiate treatment. This qualitative study informs detoxification and addiction treatment providers, and health systems, about how to improve detoxification to treatment transitions, by reporting detoxification providers' views of transition facilitators and barriers. The sample consisted of 30 providers from 30 Veterans Health Administration detoxification programs. Themes regarding transition facilitators and barriers emerged at the patient, program (detoxification programs, and addiction programs), and system levels. Detoxification program-level practices of discharge planning, patient education, and rapport building were reported as facilitating the transition to treatment. Six themes captured transition facilitators within addiction treatment programs: the provision of evidence-based practices, patient-centered care, care coordination, aftercare, convenience, and a well-trained and professional staff. This study expands previous literature on detoxification and addiction treatment by systematically and qualitatively examining factors that promote and hinder treatment initiation after inpatient and outpatient detoxification, from a provider perspective, in an era of health care reform and expanded substance use disorder treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-72
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Addiction
  • Care transitions
  • Detoxification
  • Providers
  • Qualitative
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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