Prevalence and predictors of recent temporary psychiatric hold among a cohort of people who inject drugs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 Oct 1;227:108916. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.108916. Epub 2021 Jul 29.


California's Welfare and Institutions code 5150 allows for a temporary psychiatric hold (TPH) of individuals who present a danger to themselves or others and/or may be gravely disabled due to mental illness. Little is known about the frequency and predictors of involuntary holds among people who inject drugs (PWID).

Methods: We sought to identify the prevalence and predictors of recent TPHs (within the past 12 months) among a community-recruited sample of PWID in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California during 2017-2018 (N = 531). Multivariable logistic regression modeling was used to evaluate demographic (e.g., age), economic (e.g., homelessness), drug use (e.g., types of drugs used), incarceration (e.g., recent arrest history) and mental health (e.g., lifetime mental health diagnosis) variables associated with recent TPH.

Results: Age (40-49 years old vs age 50 or older: AOR = 5.85; 95 % CI = 2.18, 15.67), current homelessness (AOR = 3.75; 95 % CI = 1.28, 11.0), lifetime mental health history (AOR = 6.23; 95 % CI = 2.08, 18.66), and frequency of methamphetamine use (AOR = 1.01; 95 % CI = 1.00, 1.01) were statistically associated with increased odds of having experienced a TPH, while frequency of past month heroin/opioid use was associated with decreased odds of reporting a TPH (AOR = 0.99; 95 % CI = 0.99, 1.00) in multivariable analysis.

Conclusions: Diverse factors were associated with TPH among PWID. Our analysis underscores the need for research on PWID with co-occurring substance-use and mental illness disorders and homelessness. There is urgent need for expanding access to lower barrier publicly funded mental health treatment from a harm-reduction approach.

Keywords: Involuntary treatment; Mental illness; People who inject drugs; Temporary psychiatric hold.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Prevalence
  • San Francisco / epidemiology
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous* / epidemiology


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations