The Role of Case Management in Retaining Clients in Substance Abuse Treatment: An Exploratory Analysis

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The positive relationship between time spent in substance-abuse treatment and improved outcomes has led to a significant interest in interventions that encourage substance abusers to remain in treatment. Case management has been tested for its role in both encouraging continued participation and directly affecting desired outcomes. This article reports findings from an ongoing longitudinal study that randomly assigned over 600 substance abusers entering treatment to one of two groups, either: (1) usual primary and aftercare drug treatment services or (2) usual services and an enhancement of strengths-based case management. A cluster analytic technique was used to identify patterns of participation in post-primary treatment, i.e., aftercare and case management, among those substance abusers in the enhanced group. Three distinct clusters emerge that suggest a prominent role for this model of case management as either an adjunct or an alternative to conventional treatment.

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