Journal of Addiction Medicine

Skip Navigation LinksHome > June 2011 - Volume 5 - Issue 2 > Earning “Take-Home” Privileges and Long-Term Outcome in a Me...
Journal of Addiction Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e3181e6ad48
Original Research

Earning “Take-Home” Privileges and Long-Term Outcome in a Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program

Peles, Einat PhD; Schreiber, Shaul MD; Sason, Anat BA; Adelson, Miriam MD

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Objectives: This observational prospective study aimed to determine whether duration to the earning of privileges of “take-home” methadone doses (as a part of behavioral enforcement) reflects long-term outcome of patients in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT).

Methods: All 657 former heroin addicts admitted to our MMT clinic between June 1993 and June 2008 were prospectively studied and followed up. Duration from admission to first take-home dose (until October 2008), to leaving (retention, until June 2009), and to dying (survival, until June 2008) was calculated.

Results: Most patients (n = 435; 66.2%) ever achieved take-home privileges. Retention was longest (10 years, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 8.8 to 11.2) for 110 patients who achieved their first take-home dose after 3 to 6 months, followed by 9 years (95% CI: 7.7 to 10.3) for 98 patients who achieved it after >6 months and ≤1 year, and 8.3 years (95% CI: 7.2 to 9.4) for 127 patients who managed to achieve it only after >1 year. Retention was lower among patients who were given exceptional take-home doses (not respecting policy regulations) <3 months since admission: 5.1 years (95% CI: 3.4 to 7.8) for 30 patients (who got it for medical reasons), 9 years (95% CI: 6.7 to 11.3) for 14 patients admitted from another MMT, and 6.3 years (95% CI: 5 to 7.6) for 56 patients who got it for unjustified (mistakes) reasons. The shortest retention in MMT was 2.2 years (95% CI: 1.8 to 2.7, P < 0.0005) for 222 patients who never managed to achieve any take-home privileges. Survival was longer among patients who ever versus never received take-home privileges (13.2 years [95% CI: 12.8 to 13.6] vs 12.3 years [95% CI: 11.5 to 13.1], respectively; P = 0.04) and longest (14.1 years [95% CI: 13.4 to 14.7]) among those who received take-home privileges after 3 to 6 months.

Conclusions: The group with the shortest time (3 to 6 months) to the achievement of first take-home dose had the best outcome. Further studies are needed to characterize this group.

© 2011 American Society of Addiction Medicine

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