Success in a Canadian Methadone Maintenance Treatment programme

First published: 10/05/2019 | Last updated: May 20th, 2019

Objective:

Past research on the efficacy of methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) as a treatment for opiate addiction has generally been very encouraging, but the literature shows that effectiveness varies from study to study (ie, clinic to clinic).  Additionally, researchers challenge the adequacy of 2 commonly used outcome criteria, treatment retention, and heroin use.  Retention as a criterion has been called into question as it is a very indirect measure of success, and research that focuses on a reduction in heroin use may not be generalizable to Canadian opiate addicts, who are more typically characterized by prescription drug abuse.  The current study addresses these past limitations.

Results:

Findings indicate significant positive changes in self-reported emotional and behavioural functioning on a number of relevant variables; changes often occurred regardless of the number of months in the program or whether the patients had a stabilized or a non-stabilized  categorization, though stabilized patients demonstrated greater changes than non-stabilized patients.

Conclusions:

All subjects benefited just from being in the program: those in the group categorized as stable benefited the most.

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Dr Martyn Judson