Chemical dependency treatment and employment outcomes: results from the 'ADATSA' program in Washington State

Authors: Luecking, D. M., & Luecking, R. G.
Year Published 2000
Publication Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume 60
Number 2
Pages 151-159
Publisher Elsevier

In 1987, the Washington State legislature passed the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment and Support Act (ADATSA), creating a program for indigent adults deemed unemployable and incapacitated as a result of their addiction. This legislation was designed to provide treatment instead of the traditional public assistance/cash grants available.


The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between chemical dependency treatment and subsequent earnings.


The setting included multiple methadone treatment centers in Washington State.


2195 clients were referred to an ADATSA assessment center and determined to be financially eligible for assistance. Of those assessed, 1537 individuals were found to be clinically eligible for treatment and 1228 entered treatment.

Data Collection

All data came from secondary sources, as there was no direct contact between researchers and clients. Data on earnings came from the wage and hour file collected by Washington State's Department of employment Security.


There was no comparison or control condition.


Clients who completed their plan of treatment earned more than those who did not. Those clients who received vocational services, in addition to completing treatment, earned more than those who completed treatment only.


This study shows that clients once deemed "unemployable" can become productive.

Populations Male & Female
Outcomes Employment acquisition | Full-time employment | Part-time employment
NIDILRR Funded Not Reported
Research Design Observational
Peer Reviewed Yes