Factors associated with retention in faith-based drug treatment centers in the Mexican-American border

Ietza Bojorquez, Daniel Rodríguez, Olga Odgers, Ramiro Jaimes

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17711/SM.0185-3325.2018.025


Introduction. Faith-based centers are major providers of residential treatment for substance use problems in Mexico, but relatively few studies have been conducted in this context.

Objective. To explore factors associated with treatment retention in two faith-based (with different religious orientation) residential treatment facilities for male drug users in Tijuana, Mexico.

Method. We conducted an exploratory follow-up study of 328 clients admitted during 2014-2015 to either an Evangelical Pentecostal center or a faith-based center without a specific religious affiliation. The main outcome was retention, defined as remaining in treatment for at least three months.

Results. Among participants, the retention rate was 38.7%. Multivariate logistic regression models showed that age (OR 1.04; 95% CI [1.01, 1.06]; p = .002) and having used heroin or opioids in the past 30 days (OR .50; 95% CI [.25, 1.00]; p = .049) were associated with retention. Having a personal religious affiliation was associated with retention in the Evangelical Pentecostal center, but not in the center without a specific religious affiliation. Discussion and conclusion. The retention rate was low, but within the previously reported range. The interaction of personal religious affiliation and the religious orientation of the center suggests that a match between a person’s religious convictions and those of the center could be important for retention. More research is needed to clarify the utility of faith-based centers for religious and non-religious drug users.


Drug users; residential treatment; faith-based treatment; Mexico

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