Incorporating a Methadone Maintenance Program into a Drug-free Treatment System

  • M. A. Rizzi
Conference paper


The intent of this presentation is to identify and address obstacles to the establishment of a methadone maintenance treatment program, not only within a community or neighborhood, but within the operating structure of a drug-free, abstinence-based, outpatient treatment program. Opposition to the development of methadone maintenance treatment is not necessarily limited to community and political constituencies. Often, treatment staff, steeped in the tradition of a drug-free, or abstention-based, model of recovery may be an equally adverse sub-group. Treatment staff that is not convinced of the efficacy of methadone maintenance treatment and/or is not able to objectively consider its proper application, may not only negatively influence the acceptance of methadone maintenance treatment service but outcome as well. Likewise, treatment staff with a history of providing services oriented towards abstinence is faced with a methodological and philosophical dilemma. They must address questions regarding their own perceptions and beliefs. Program personnel must be educated, their anxieties addressed and they must be given support as they are faced with the questions related to a radically different approach to the treatment of opioid dependence. Additionally, drug-free, or abstinence-based programs, must contend with the attitudes and perceptions of those patients, currently in treatment and following an abstinence model. They also will question the use of methadone or any other pharmacotherapy. Drug-free patients will require the same type of education but they also must be encouraged to understand that pharmacotherapy for others neither diminishes nor undermines their own recovery. This presentation will discuss how CODAC, a non-profit substance abuse treatment program, with 18 years of methadone maintenance treatment experience, was able to overcome community, staff and patients resistance in the development of an effective methadone maintenance program in Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.A.


Methadone Maintenance Treatment Methadone Maintenance Opioid Dependence Treatment Staff Methadone Clinic 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. Rizzi
    • 1
  1. 1.CODACCranstonUSA

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