How good is....
HEROIN TREATMENT?

❝ there is more to heroin treatment than methadone ❞

What can I expect from a methadone programme?

Benchmark ::Β UK Drug Treatment

This benchmark shows the outcomes from a large multi-centre study in UK drug treatment services. The study found heroin use was more than halved for people on methadone treatment in the UK - use of other substances was more variable and notably remained much the same for alcohol and cocaine. The improvements were maintained through to 4-5yrs after treatment. It did not make a huge difference whether treatment was in the community or residential. The main outcome shown in the charts is number of days using different drugs.

In our opinion...

❝ the higher the dose of methadone the more difficult to get off it ❞

❝ methadone is not an end in itself but a chance to make lifestyle changes ❞

❝ if you really want to be opiate free get a detox ❞


Is just taking methadone all I need to do?

Benchmark :: Adding Psychosocial Interventions

This research found that taking methadone alone was of little use. As a minimum some counselling or psychological help was important. Even better outcomes were achieved by adding employment advice, legal advice, and family therapy but not everybody needed these additions. The charts show the main outcome, frequency of substance use, for methadone alone and methadone with psychosocial interventions.

In our opinion...

❝ you can do better than methadone alone ❞

❝ social network support and goal setting are the building blocks of change ❞

❝ methadone reduction requires much more therapeutic input than methadone maintenance ❞


What if methadone just doesn't stop me injecting heroin?

Benchmark ::Β Supervised Injectable Heroin

The RIOTT study found that, for injecting heroin users, where optimal methadone treatment had failed, then prescribed, supervised, injectable heroin was of benefit. There were improvements in terms of reducing illicit substance use. Regardless of substance use, supervision of injecting is safer than 'street' use. The charts show self reported and toxicology results for use of illicit heroin.

In our opinion...

❝ the chances of moving on from this intervention are small ❞

❝ it requires a high level of commitment from service users ❞

❝ this is a highly specialist intervention ❞