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Methadone termination and psychological distress in heroin addicted patients

27 July 2004


Heroin addiction has consistently been associated with extensive criminal behavior (McGlothlin & Anglin, 1981; Patterson, Lennings, & Davey, 2001), increased HIV risk activities, such as sharing drug needles and prostitution (Hartel & Shoenbaum, 1998), excessive illicit drug and alcohol use (Anglin, Speckart, Booth, & Ryan, 1989), and the destruction of social and family systems (Rosenbaum, Washburn, Knight, Kelly, & Irwin, 1996). With nearly 1 million heroin users in the US in 2001 (Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2002), the drug-related consequences are mounting. The financial burden alone of heroin addiction has been estimated to exceed $20 billion annually in the United States (Mark, Woody, Juday, & Kleber, 2001).

The following study is a comparison of the psychological effects on heroin-dependent participants who lost MMT benefits and those who retained MMT benefits through the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or were able to self pay. The primary hypothesis is that participants whose MMT benefits were terminated would evidence significantly more psychological distress, most notably depression and anxiety, than those who retained MMT benefits, either through the state or by paying themselves, over a one-year period. In addition, it is hypothesized that individuals who lost MMT benefits would report significantly higher rates of suicidal ideology and difficulty concentrating then those who did not lose MMT benefits.


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