Self-Selection and Personality Factors in the Initiation of LAAM Maintenance
L-alpha-acetyl-methadol (LAAM) has been in the clinical trials phase of pharmacological testing since approximately 1970 when Jaffe et al. (1970) performed a double blind study of the effectiveness of LAAM as a substitute for methadone in the treatment of heroin addicts. What they and virtually all succeeding researchers found was that LAAM was a suitable and desirable alternative to methadone. At present LAAM is being administered by methadone clinics throughout the country, conceivably within the framework of the last pharmacological testing stage before eventual approval for widespread use in treatment. Because of the experimental nature and purpose of this dispensing program, a predominantly volunteer subject pool is being utilized. Primarily as a result of this necessary use of volunteers, several phenomena have occurred which warrant closer examination. First of all, what Jaffe et al. (1970) and virtually all subsequent researchers also found was that the experimental group of clients maintained on LAAM consistently produced higher dropout rates than a comparable group of methadone clients used as a control. In some instances this ratio reached proportions of three experimental dropouts to every control dropout. The second phenomenon which has occurred is that the number of clients volunteering for LAAM maintenance has been surprisingly below expected frequencies. It is within the context of these two phenomena that the existence of a self-selection process may be implicated.
KeywordsMethadone Maintenance Volunteer Group Pharmacological Testing Clinical Trial Phase Methadone Clinic
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