, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 353-364

Influence of Time in Treatment and Follow-Up Duration on Methadone Treatment Outcomes

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Abstract

Data for 422 methadone treatment clients in the National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study (NTIES) were analyzed. Clients maintained continuously in methadone treatment for longer than 12 months and clients who leftbetween 3–12 months were compared with clients treated for less than 3 months. Additionally, clients treated for 3–12 months who had short follow-up periods (6-month average) were compared with 3–12-month clients with long follow-up periods (11-month average). Positive treatment outcomes includinglower drug use, reduced risk of viral infectionand sexually transmitted disease (through needle sharing and multiple sex partners), and less criminality wereassociated with both longer duration treatment and shorter follow-up periods. The findings suggested that continuous methadone treatment of 12 or more months is optimal, whereas stays of less than3 months may be ineffective. Furthermore, stays of 3–12 months are likelyto be beneficial over a relatively short time span, for example 6 months.