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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 90, Issue 5, pp 299–303 | Cite as

Comparing Opiate Users in Methadone Treatment with Untreated Opiate Users: Results of a Follow-up Study with a Toronto Opiate User Cohort

  • Benedikt FischerEmail author
  • Louis Gliksman
  • Jürgen Rehm
  • Natalie Daniel
  • Wendy Medved
Article

Abstract

Untreated opiate use is correlated with major social harms and costs in Canada. While methadone treatment has existed in Canada since the 1960s, there is little specific Canadian research on its effects. This paper reports on the one-year follow-up results of a Toronto cohort study of opiate users (N=114) who were not in treatment at baseline. Sixty-nine people were recruited for re-interviewing. A number of these individuals (N=29) had entered methadone treatment during the year between baseline and follow-up interviews. Comparisons with respect to social functioning, health status and health care utilization, drug use and related risks, and criminal justice system involvement were made between the follow-up subsample who remained untreated, and the subjects who entered methadone treatment. Differences were found with respect to illegal income generation, illicit opiate and other drug use, illicit drug market activities and emergency care and aspects of socio-economic integration, but no major effects on health and criminal justice status could be shown. Research and policy implications are discussed.

Résumé

Au Canada, la consommation d’opiacés chez les usagers non traités est liée à d’importants méfaits et coûts sociaux. Bien que le traitement à la méthadone y soit offert depuis les années 1960, peu d’études canadiennes portent expressément sur ses résultats thérapeutiques. Ce rapport décrit les résultats d’une étude de cohortes menée auprès d’usagers d’opiacés non traités (N=114). Au total, 69 sujets ont été interrogés et contactés de nouveau un an plus tard. Un certain nombre de personnes (N=29) avaient commencé un traitement à la méthadone durant l’année écoulée. Le fonctionnement social, l’état de santé et le recours aux services de santé, la consommation de drogues et les risques connexes, ainsi que les démêlés avec la justice criminelle ont fait l’objet d’une comparaison entre le sous-échantillon d’usagers non traités et celui des usagers traités à la méthadone au moment du suivi. On a relevé des différences sur les plans de la production de revenus illégaux, de la consommation d’opiacés et d’autres drogues illégales, du trafic de drogues, des soins médicaux d’urgence et de certains aspects de l’intégration socio-économique, mais aucun effet important ne semblait toucher l’état de santé ou la situation juridique des sujets. Le rapport examine les implications de ces conclusions sur la recherche et les politiques.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benedikt Fischer
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Louis Gliksman
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jürgen Rehm
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Natalie Daniel
    • 1
  • Wendy Medved
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Western OntarioCanada
  4. 4.Global Programme on Evidence for Health PolicyWorld Health Organization (WHO)GenevaSwitzerland
  5. 5.Sunnybrook Health Science CentreTorontoCanada

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