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  • Why it is important to cut methadone treatment waiting time

    Posted on May 5th, 2009 TimB No comments

    Combined implications of two British studies were that the longer someone waits for methadone treatment, the less likely they are to start it, and even if they do, they will have spent longer at risk from dependent heroin use.

    A study by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, 2004.

    The study showed clearly that reducing the length of time clients have to wait to start methadone
    treatment resulted in a higher proportion of clients actually entering treatment. However, this did not necessarily result in better rates of retention as results also seemed to suggest that slightly more people from the ‘accelerated’
    group dropped out of methadone treatment than those in the ‘standard’ one. In particular, drop-outs were most likely to happen during the first few days of structured treatment which, in this particular study, was when clients
    started on methadone. In other words, clients were particularly vulnerable at this time. This tells us that
    it is crucial that methadone treatment services make every effort to ensure that potential service
    users do not drop out at this critical stage of the process.

    Another study by the Nationat Treatment Agancy 2005 It concluded that efforts to reduce waiting times are justified, even though waiting per se may not significantly affect uptake or retention over and above any other effects of the particular service provision. Lengthy waits for treatment, whether real or perceived, can act as a barrier to treatment presentation and uptake. Drug users on waiting
    lists are likely to continue to engage in drug misuse and associated risk behaviours while waiting.

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