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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2018

National trends and characteristics of inpatient detoxification for drug use disorders in the United States

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2018
He Zhu, Li-Tzy Wu
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12889-018-5982-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Prior studies indicate that the opportunity from detoxification to engage in subsequent drug use disorder (DUD) treatment may be missed. This study examined national trends and characteristics of inpatient detoxification for DUDs and explored factors associated with receiving DUD treatment (i.e., inpatient drug detoxification plus rehabilitation) and discharges against medical advice (DAMA).


We analyzed inpatient hospitalization data involving the drug detoxification procedure for patients aged≥12 years (n = 271,403) in the 2003–2011 Nationwide Inpatient Samples. We compared the estimated rate and characteristics of inpatient drug-detoxification hospitalizations between 2003 and 2011 and determined demographic and clinical correlates of inpatient drug detoxification plus rehabilitation (versus detoxification-only) and DAMA (versus transfer to further treatment).


There was no significant yearly change in the population rate of inpatient drug-detoxification hospitalizations during 2003–2011. The majority of inpatient drug detoxification were patients aged 35–64 years, males, and those on Medicaid. Among inpatient drug-detoxification hospitalizations, only 13% received detoxification plus rehabilitation during inpatient care, and up to 14% were DAMA; the most commonly identified diagnoses were opioid use disorder (OUD; 75%) and non-addiction mental health disorders (48%). Being on Medicaid (vs. having private insurance) and having OUD (vs. no OUD) were associated with decreased odds of receiving detoxification plus rehabilitation, as well as increased odds of DAMA.


These findings suggest the presence of a potentially large detoxification-treatment gap for inpatient detoxification patients. They highlight the need for implementing DUD services to improve engagement in receiving further DUD treatment in order to improve recovery and health outcomes.
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