Reducing Heroin Consumption During Methadone Treatment and Limitation of Post Treatment Relapses: Two Crucial Public Health Problems
In most of Europe, drug addiction has become one of the basic public health issues with a steep rise in delinquency, prostitution, social decline, the sequels of overdoses and the transmission of Aids.
Methadone treatment programs accompanied by a therapeutic contract and psycho-social support constitutes the most effective approach for limiting the risks of addiction, decreasing the frequency of heroin use and maintaining addicts at a good psycho-social level of stability. The results of an evaluation concerning 280 drug addicts in three methadone treatment programs of the Phenix Foundation in Geneva are presented: characteristics of the patients, decrease of heroin use, limitation of the number of arrests and imprisonments, need for an adequate dosage of methadone adapted to the needs of each patient, usefulness of maintaining the methadone dosage at a relatively high level, etc. The problem of weaning from methadone is a crucial matter for therapists. Various statistics indicate that a great majority of patients relapse within the year following the withdrawal from methadone. To limit these relapses it is necessary to wait until patients are perfectly stabilized from the medical, psychological, social, affective and toxicological point of view before encouraging them to wean themselves with a dose reduction of about 2,5% every two weeks and with the possibility to re-adjust the methadone dosage if the need arises.
KeywordsMethadone Treatment Drug Addiction Methadone Dosage Methadone Maintenance Treatment Methadone Maintenance
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