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This unique randomised trial tested what would happen if detoxified opiate addicts were then maintained on a substitute drug, on an opiate-blocking medication, or simply counselled. The results led to the introduction of methadone prescribing programmes in Malaysia.
European and US studies show that methadone patients stick with therapy for hepatitis C disease and do as well as other patients, bolstering the case for drug services to encourage clients to consider diagnostic testing and therapy.
Limited access to opiate substitute prescribing in Norway opened a window on its powerful lifesaving potential, a view obscured in countries where barriers create a confounding selection effect or where everyone who needs and wants this treatment can quickly get it.
Further demonstration from a US research team that relatively intensive case management support does help welfare applicants overcome substance use problems, but in this case only those not already managed through substitute prescribing.
STUDY 2005 PDF file 154Kb
Hepatitis C therapy cost-effective for injectors
Two new analyses agree that despite relapse to drug use and imperfect adherence to a demanding medical regime, anti-viral therapy for hepatitis C infection in drug injectors cost-effectively prolongs and improves life.
STUDY 2005 PDF file 149Kb
Addressing medical and welfare needs improves treatment retention and outcomes
In this US treatment study, receiving services matched to need was associated with greater reductions in illegal drug use, supporting calls for services to address not just dependence but also medical, psychological, social, housing, and vocational needs.
For the first time an analysis of relevant studies has assessed the relative contributions of higher doses and flexibility in setting doses to improving retention in opiate substitute prescribing programmes. Both it seems help retain patients in treatment.
Though intended for Baltimore this review will be of great value for administrations everywhere considering heroin prescribing programmes. It is particularly useful for its accessible style and hands-on portrayal of existing programmes.
REVIEW 2008 HTM file
Opioid substitution therapy in prisons: reviewing the evidence
Brief but thoroughly researched review commends prison methadone programmes as causing no substantial problems while improving the climate in prison, reducing drug use and infection risk behaviours, and improving post-release treatment uptake and recidivism rates.
STUDY 2004 PDF file 106Kb
Methadone programme loosens up, increases capacity, patients do just as well
Canadian study documents what happens when you 'deregulate' methadone prescribing and permit greater patient choice in treatment and treatment goals. Result: room for more patients, less conflict and no decrease in effectiveness.
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