The demand for substance abuse treatment services in Montana and rural Colorado
Phearson, Gina Christine
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Treatment seeking behavior by individuals diagnosed as substance abusers is examined. A benefit/cost framework is utilized to analyze the decision to seek substance abuse treatment services. It is argued that treatment services are sought when the present value of the expected future stream of benefits from treatment are greater than the present value of its expected future costs. It is also argued that events that either raise the expected benefits or lower the expected costs of seeking treatment increase the probability that these services will be sought. The data for this study were selected from a telephone survey of non-institutionalized adults residing in the state of Montana and the rural communities of Colorado. Multinomial logistic (logit) regression models were used to estimate the willingness to seek substance abuse treatment services as a function of twelve economic and socio-demographic variables and four external pressure variables. Results are presented for the total adult sample and five pairs of population subgroups: low and high-income individuals, men and women, low income men and women, high-income men and women, and the employed and unemployed. The reported findings on the external pressure to individuals about their substance use, employment status, income levels, educational status, marital and primary child care responsibilities, and gender issues confirm that these variables have a significant influence on the substance user's decision to seek treatment services for the total population and subgroups studied. Although Likelihood Ratio tests did not reject the hypotheses that the treatment seeking decision is identical for each pair of subgroups analyzed, the results obtained nevertheless provide new and interesting insights into the decision to seek substance abuse treatment services.