Improving treatment enrollment and re-enrollment rates of syringe exchangers: 12-Month outcomes

Michael Kidorf, Van L. King, Neeraj Gandotra, Ken Kolodner, Robert K. Brooner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Developing bridges between community syringe exchange programs (SEPs) and substance abuse treatment could benefit syringe exchangers and the public health. Kidorf et al. (2009) showed that motivational approaches employed at an SEP site improved rates of treatment enrollment and reduced drug use over a 4-month observation window. The present study extends this report by evaluating rates of treatment enrollment and re-enrollment over a 12-month period. Methods: Opioid dependent individuals (n=281) newly registered at an SEP were randomly assigned to one of three referral interventions: (1) 8 individual motivational enhancement sessions and 16 treatment readiness group sessions designed to improve treatment interest and readiness (motivated referral condition; MRC-only); (2) MRC-only with monetary incentives for attending sessions and enrolling in treatment (MRC+I); or (3) standard referral (SRC). MRC-only and MRC+I participants discharged from treatment could attend a treatment re-engagement group designed to facilitate return to treatment (MRC+I participants received incentives for attending sessions and re-enrolling in treatment). Results: The 4-month outcomes generally extended over 12 months. MRC+I participants were more likely to enroll in methadone maintenance than MRC-only or SRC participants, and to re-enroll in treatment following discharge. MRC+I participants also reported more days of treatment and less heroin and injection use. Conclusions: The good harm reduction outcomes for many SEP participants can be enhanced through strategies designed to facilitate treatment enrollment and re-enrollment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-166
Number of pages5
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Harm reduction
  • Injection drug use
  • Methadone maintenance
  • Syringe exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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