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Meeting the challenges of opioid dependence in China

experience of opioid agonist treatment

Chen, Tianzhena; Zhao, Mina,b

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: July 2019 - Volume 32 - Issue 4 - p 282–287
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000509
ADDICTIVE DISORDERS: Edited by John B. Saunders and Linda B. Cottler

Purpose of review This article reviews the role of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) clinics in minimizing the harms caused by opioid dependence, as well as China's current challenges in this area. In addition, we aim to discuss the treatment strategies for opioid dependence within the international community in the current global situation of serious abuse of opioids.

Recent findings Like other countries facing the opioid crisis, China is actively working on revising policy, improving the addiction treatment system and promotion of MMT clinics to cope with the risks of opioid abuse. As they provide one of the most effective opioid agonist treatments for opioid dependence, MMT clinics play an extremely important role in this campaign. The MMT programme in China has had a significant beneficial effect on reduction of opioid use and the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS.

Summary The efficacy of MMT for patients with opioid dependence in China is confirmed by the present review. However, several important challenges still need to be resolved. China's treatment experience also provides a reference for other countries facing the danger of opioid dependence.

aShanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine

bShanghai Key Laboratory of Psychotic Disorders, Shanghai, PR China

Correspondence to Min Zhao, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 600 South Wanping Road, Shanghai 200030, China. E-mail:

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