The effect of intake procedures on treatment entry and retention was examined in a natural experiment, in which a methadone maintenance clinic in Israel admitted 127 clients by employing a rapid intake procedure (maximum of 3 days before the initiation of treatment was offered). Using information gathered from patient files, these clients were retrospectively compared to a control group (n = 121) who underwent the clinic's regular intake procedure (between 3 weeks and 3 months). Outcome measures included entry into treatment and subsequent retention in treatment (at 3, 6 and 12 months). Results show that 81% of clients from the rapid intake group entered treatment compared to only 57% from the regular intake group. Treatment retention was similar for both groups. In addition, Jewish clients were more likely to enter treatment via the rapid intake procedure than clients from other religions, and women were retained in treatment longer than men, regardless of the type of intake procedure. Results of this single-site study lend support to the effectiveness of rapid intake procedures as a way to engage clients in treatment and carry significant implications for improving access into treatment.

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