November 8, 2007

New Book Provides First Comprehensive Reference on U.S. Methadone Treatment Programs

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Methadone Maintenance Treatment in the U.S.: Wechsberg
Methadone Maintenance Treatment in the U.S.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- Methadone Maintenance Treatment in the U.S.: A Practical Question and Answer Guide, a new book by researchers at RTI International, is one of the first comprehensive reference books on methadone maintenance treatment programs in the United States.

The book is based on a study of nearly 150 methadone treatment programs in 15 states. Methadone maintenance programs have been the primary form of treatment to reduce opiate dependence, particularly heroine.

"This book is highly recommended for treatment program managers, substance abuse treatment professionals, policy makers and anyone who is genuinely interested in getting a better understanding of methadone maintenance treatment programs at the present time," said Mark Parrino, president of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence. "It's the kind of much-needed reference guide for the opioid dependence treatment field that should be within easy reach on the shelf for quick access to a wealth of information."

In the United States, there are more than 1,200 methadone maintenance treatment programs, with an estimated 20,000 staff members, serving more than 200,000 patients annually.

"Despite the magnitude of these programs, frontline staff have limited professional resources that are both user-friendly and empirically based," said Wendee Wechsberg, Ph.D., director of the Substance Abuse Treatment Evaluations and Interventions Research Program at RTI and the book's lead author. "Lessons learned from the past 40 years of methadone maintenance programs can provide guidance on program service delivery, program practices, effective screening and assessment tools, patient characteristics and cost of services."

The book offers insights into the effectiveness of methadone, the characteristics of successful methadone treatment programs, and dosing practices, as well as funding, regulation and accreditation issues.

According to Wechsberg, the methadone maintenance treatment programs that are most comprehensive are best. She suggests that for successful patient outcomes, programs need to provide services such as day care, transportation, medical care and treatment for addiction to other drugs.

This book is written for a diverse audience, including clinicians, program administrators, substance abuse treatment researchers and other health service professionals who want to learn about all aspects of methadone maintenance treatment. The information is also valuable to policy makers interested in establishing new programs domestically and internationally.

Jennifer Kasten, Ph.D., formerly of RTI and now at Abt Associates, co-authored the book with contributions from Nancy Berkman, Ph.D., and Amy Roussel, Ph.D., of RTI.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment in the U.S.: A Practical Question and Answer Guide, published by Springer Publishing Company, is available on leading commercial bookseller Web sites.