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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2011, Article ID 948789, 10 pages
Research Article

Distance Traveled and Cross-State Commuting to Opioid Treatment Programs in the United States

1National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI), 71 W 23 Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10010, USA
2College of Nursing, New York University (NYU), 726 Broadway, 10th floor, New York, NY 10003, USA
3American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD), 225 Varick Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10014, USA

Received 31 December 2010; Revised 7 April 2011; Accepted 21 April 2011

Academic Editor: Pam R. Factor-Litvak

Copyright © 2011 Andrew Rosenblum et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study examined commuting patterns among 23,141 methadone patients enrolling in 84 opioid treatment programs (OTPs) in the United States. Patients completed an anonymous one-page survey. A linear mixed model analysis was used to predict distance traveled to the OTP. More than half (60%) the patients traveled <10 miles and 6% travelled between 50 and 200 miles to attend an OTP; 8% travelled across a state border to attend an OTP. In the multivariate model ( ), factors significantly ( ) associated with distance were, residing in the Southeast or Midwest, low urbanicity, area of the patient's ZIP code, younger age, non-Hispanic white race/ethnicity, prescription opioid abuse, and no heroin use. A significant number of OTP patients travel considerable distances to access treatment. To reduce obstacles to OTP access, policy makers and treatment providers should be alert to patients' commuting patterns and to factors associated with them.