Assertive Outreach: An Effective Strategy for Engaging Homeless Persons With Substance Use Disorders Into Treatment

Untreated substance abuse represents a major risk factor for homelessness (1, 2), with alcohol as the most frequently abused substance (3). Prevalence studies estimate the percentage of homeless people with alcohol use disorders to be at 30-40% and drug abuse at 10-15% (3). The economic and social costs of untreated substance abuse are staggering. Health and nonhealth outcomes and costs created by drug abuse and dependency for the entire population in 1992, was estimated at $98 billion which increased to $110 billion in 1995 (4). Despite these massive costs and the high prevalence of alcohol disorders among homeless persons, there are few assertive outreach programs designed to engage these persons into substance abuse treatment. These assertive outreach programs have documented successful engagement of homeless persons with substance use disorders. (abstract from the article)

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Journal Name: 
American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse