Objectives: This study examines alcohol and drug treatment utilization among a nationally representative sample of 13, 464 individuals interviewed and assessed for an alcohol and/or drug use disorder in the Swedish welfare system. The aim of this study is to identify and describe specific groups who are treatment repeaters of the Swedish addiction treatment system.
Methodology: Univariate descriptive statistics, chi-square, one-way ANOVA, and correlation methods were used to examine the characteristics associated with history of number of addiction treatment episodes. A linear regression model was developed with variables that were significant at the bivariate level.
Results: On average, the respondents reported 4.3 prior addiction treatment episodes. Results of the study show that those who were older, men, those who reported more years of polydrug and alcohol use to intoxication, who reported more compulsory treatment episodes for narcotics and alcohol, who had ever been charged with crime, who had ever been inpatient mental health treatment, and who reported a more mental health symptoms were significantly more likely to report having a history of engaging in more addiction treatment episodes. The strongest significant association with the number of treatment episodes was the number of compulsory treatment episodes for alcohol and/or for drugs.
Conclusion: Implications include the need to change perspectives about addiction treatment from it being an acute care model to a viewing addiction treatment as a chronic care model. Many individuals have multiple- treatment episodes and need multiple treatment. Further, with respect to effectiveness, overall, the Swedish treatment system responds to need in the meaning that the individuals who need treatment for their addiction also have access to treatment. Swedish addiction treatment policy should reflect a chronic care model rather than an acute care model.