A randomized trial of an interim methadone maintenance clinic

S. R. Yancovitz, D. C. Des Jarlais, N. P. Peyser, E. Drew, P. Friedmann, H. L. Trigg, J. W. Robinson

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Background. Interim methadone maintenance has been proposed as a method of providing clinically effective services to heroin addicts waiting for treatment in standard comprehensive methadone maintenance programs. Methods. A clinic that provided initial medical evaluation, methadone medication, and AIDS education, but did not include formal drug abuse counseling or other social support services was established in New York City. A sample of 301 volunteer subjects recruited from the waiting list for treatment in the Beth Israel methadone program were randomly assigned to immediate entry into the interim clinic or a control group. Results. There were no differences in initial levels of illicit drug use across the experimental and control groups. One-month urinalysis follow-up data showed a significant reduction in heroin use in the experimental group (from 63% positive at intake to 29% positive) with no change in the control group (62% to 60% positive). No significant change was observed in cocaine urinalyses (approximately 70% positive for both groups at intake and follow-up). A higher percentage of the experimental group were in treatment at 16-month follow-up (72% vs 56%). Conclusions. Limited services interim methadone maintenance can reduce heroin use among persons awaiting entry into comprehensive treatment and increase the percentage entering treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1185-1191
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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