Waiting Time as a Barrier to Treatment Entry: Perceptions of Substance Users

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Many substance users report that they experience multiple barriers that produce significant challenges to linking with treatment services. Being on a waiting list is frequently mentioned as a barrier, leading some people to give up on treatment and to continue using, while prompting others to view sobriety during the waiting period as proof they do not need treatment. This ethnographic study examines the views that 52 substance users have of the waiting time before treatment and the strategies they created to overcome it. Understanding how substance users react to waiting time itself and in relation to other barriers can lead to services that are effective in encouraging treatment linkage.