Psychiatric distress, risk behavior, and treatment enrollment among syringe exchange participants

Michael Kidorf, Van L. King, Jessica Peirce, Christopher Burke, Ken Kolodner, Robert K. Brooner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The present study evaluated psychiatric distress as a predictor of treatment enrollment in out-of-treatment injection opioid users newly registered at the Baltimore Needle Exchange Program (BNEP). Study participants (n = 281) completed the Addiction Severity Index (ASI), the Risk Assessment Battery (RAB), and the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90-R), and were randomly assigned to one of three different conditions for 4 months that evaluated referral strategies designed to promote treatment interest and enrollment. The Global Severity Index (GSI) of the SCL-90 was used as a measure of psychiatric distress. A logistic regression showed that higher GSI scores predicted more treatment enrollment (Adjusted OR = 2.15, CI = 1.10-4.23, p < 0.05), after controlling for study condition, demographic variables, syringe exchange site, and severity of drug use. The results suggest that the data from the assessment of psychiatric distress in syringe exchange settings can be used to support motivational strategies for encouraging syringe exchangers to seek substance abuse treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-503
Number of pages5
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Needle exchange
  • Opioid abuse
  • Psychiatric comorbidity
  • Psychiatric distress
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Syringe exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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