Detoxification centers: Who's in the revolving door?

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Data from 443,812 admissions to publicly funded detoxification centers in Massachusetts (fiscal year 1984 to fiscal year 1996) were analyzed to assess changes in the population served. Substantial increases in admissions of women, African Americans, and Hispanics were apparent. Mean age at admission declined and unemployment increased. A 25% decline in admissions reporting alcohol use was coupled with a twofold increase in reported cocaine use and a fourfold increase in heroin use. Detoxification services have evolved. The older, white, male alcoholic is no longer the primary consumer. Policy initiatives (e.g., increased services for women) and the changing epidemiology of drug abuse (e.g., increased access to heroin) contributed to the changing population served in detoxification centers.

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