The entries below are our accounts of documents collected by Drug and Alcohol Findings as relevant to improving outcomes from drug or alcohol interventions in the UK. The original documents were not published by Findings; click on the Titles to obtain copies. Free reprints may also be available from the authors. If displayed, click prepared e-mail to adapt the pre-prepared e-mail message or compose your own message. The Summary is intended to convey the findings and views expressed in the document. Below may be a commentary from Drug and Alcohol Findings.
All five entries (the first an update of one first released in 2009) document the groundbreaking randomised controlled trials conducted in Norway of naltrexone implants which block the effects of heroin and other opiate-type drugs for up to six months. Implants work by depriving the addict of the choice to experience opiate-type effects – a curtailment which at the same time makes them effective and controversial. Short of surgical removal, in theory for several months the procedure irreversibly prevents heroin addicts experiencing the desired effects of the drug, providing an extended opiate-free space during which a new non-opiate focused life can be constructed.
The Norwegian studies tested implants against normal aftercare for patients leaving inpatient treatment, and against methadone maintenance as a bridge to community treatment for formerly dependent prisoners coming to the end of their sentences. They showed that implants can be an effective and lasting aid to curbing opiate use for a small minority of patients motivated to aim for opiate abstinence and prepared to accept that opiate effects may be unavailable to them for six months.