Evaluating methadone maintenance treatment outcomes in an atlantic Canadian milieu

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University of New Brunswick
Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) is an intervention for individuals dependent on opioids. Past research evaluating the effectiveness of MMT has primarily focused on heroin users and has emphasized substance abuse and health-related outcome indicators. The current dissertation examined a primarily prescription opioid abusing population enrolled in MMT in Atlantic Canada through longitudinal design spanning five years. Records of all clients enrolled in MMT in Saint John, New Brunswick since it began were reviewed to obtain relevant information about their psychosocial functioning and substance abuse, as well as program involvement from the point of their intake into MMT to their discharge or withdrawal from MMT. Repeated measures and multiple regression analyses were used to identify changes in psychosocial factors throughout MMT and factors contributing to positive outcomes. Results indicated that the majority of changes on outcome variables occurred during the first 12 months of treatment, including reductions in substance use and criminal activity, with improvements in mental and physical health ratings. The highest drop-out rates were also observed during the first year of treatment. Clients who had higher self-reported mental health functioning and perceived social support ratings tended to remain in treatment longer. This dissertation extends the MMT effectiveness literature to a primarily prescription opioid using population. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.