Treatment Retention in Opioid Dependent Clients Receiving Medication-Assisted Treatment: Six-Month Rate and Baseline Correlates

Subst Use Misuse. 2021;56(7):1018-1023. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2021.1906276. Epub 2021 Apr 11.


In the current opioid overdose epidemic, treatment retention among clients receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid dependence is a significant and growing concern among treatment providers, policymakers, and researchers. Methods: We examined a sample of clients enrolled in a federally funded MAT expansion program implemented in four sites in Connecticut. Program participants received MAT for their opioid use disorders (OUDs). All program sites utilized a person in recovery from OUD (a recovery support coach, RSC) as part of the treatment team. By performing bivariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression models, we evaluated the association of 6-month retention and program site, gender, age, race/ethnicity, and past month substance use. Results: At 6-month follow-up, 58.9% of participants were classified as "retained." Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that participants who were older, reported no past month cocaine/crack use, or reported any illegal drug use other than cocaine/crack, were significantly more likely to be retained in treatment at follow-up. Conclusions: Retention rates were relatively high in these Connecticut sites compared to those examined in previous literature. Findings suggest that efforts for enhancing retention and successful treatment outcomes need to consider and potentially address the unique needs, problems, and risks of younger clients and clients with crack/cocaine involvement. The importance of drug use screening for those entering MAT is underscored. Future research needs to explore how levels of client involvement in adjunctive therapies may impact their retention.

Keywords: Medication assisted treatment; cocaine/crack use; opioid use disorder; retention.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Connecticut
  • Drug Overdose* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy


  • Analgesics, Opioid