Home > Justifying drug substitution therapies: the case of methadone maintenance treatment.

Ward, Jeff (2002) Justifying drug substitution therapies: the case of methadone maintenance treatment. In: Debating Public Policies on Drugs and Alcohol, 22 September 2002, Addiction Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin.

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This paper reviews the use of methadone maintenance programmes and examines the rationale for their continuance. The paper outlines the account of methadone use from the 1964 trials of Dole and Nyswander. Methadone actually effectively transfers dependency form one drug to another and this difficulty is discussed. The paper looks at the benefits that methadone maintenance can bring about for users and society as a whole. Research has shown that the provision of methadone reduces heroin use and crime, significantly reduces mortality among opiate users, and reduces the rates of HIV infection and risky behaviour. methadone maintenance is unlikely to protect the substantial number of patients who continue to use heroin sporadically from hepatitis C. Research reviewed shows that maintenance does not prolong dependence any longer than would occur in the absence of treatment or in cases where the person enters some other form of treatment. Evidence points to high doses of methadone over longer rather than short periods of treatment. The review also highlights that the risks are greatest in the first two weeks of treatment, with an increased rate of overdose. After four decades of research, the review concludes that methadone maintenance is an effective treatment for opioid dependence, and that its widespread application throughout the world is a good example of an evidence-based intervention for the treatment of drug dependence.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Page Range:[28 p.]
Event Title:Debating Public Policies on Drugs and Alcohol
Event Location:Addiction Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin
Event Dates:22 September 2002
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:HJ Treatment method > Treatment outcome
F Concepts in psychology > Attitude and behaviour > Attitude toward drugs and alcohol
HJ Treatment method > Drugs and alcohol disorder treatment method > Drugs and alcohol replacement method (substitution) > Methadone maintenance
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Drugs and alcohol prevention > Drugs and alcohol use harm reduction

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