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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2021

Rita Komalasari, Sarah Wilson and Sally Haw

Opioid agonist treatment (OAT) programmes in prisons play a significant role in preventing the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Despite its proven effectiveness, both…

Abstract

Purpose

Opioid agonist treatment (OAT) programmes in prisons play a significant role in preventing the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Despite its proven effectiveness, both the availability and coverage of prison OAT programmes remain low. This Indonesian study explores facilitators of, and barriers to, the delivery of methadone programmes in prisons using the social ecological model (SEM).

Design/methodology/approach

The study used a qualitative case study approach comprising two prisons with, and one prison without, methadone programmes. Purposive and snowball sampling was used to recruit study participants. In total, 57 in-depth interviews were conducted with prison governors, health-care staff, prison officers and prisoners. Data was analysed thematically.

Findings

The study findings identified facilitators of and barriers to the delivery of prison OAT programmes at all three levels of the SEM as follows: intrapersonal barriers including misperceptions relating to HIV transmission, the harm reduction role of OAT programmes, methadone dependency and withdrawal symptoms; interpersonal barriers such as inflexible OAT treatment processes and the wide availability of illicit drugs in prisons and; social-structural barriers, notably the general lack of resources.

Research limitations/implications

The findings highlight the importance of and overlap between, organisational and inter-personal, as well as intrapersonal factors. Such an approach is particularly important in the context of the implementation and delivery of methadone programmes in low/middle income countries, where the lack of resources is so significant.

Practical implications

Three main strategies for improvement were suggested as follows: the development of comprehensive education and training programmes for prisoners and all prison staff; the re-assessment of practices relating to the delivery of methadone, and a comprehensive review of harm reduction strategy in prisons, that should consider the role of prisoners’ families to increase support for prisoner participation; the re-assessment of prison policies to support the delivery of methadone programmes in prisons.

Social implications

The author suggests that ongoing international support and national drug policies are vital to the continuation and sustainability of methadone programmes in prisons.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the overall evidence base for OAT programmes in middle-income prison contexts.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Book part
Publication date: 9 October 2012

Helena Hansen and Samuel K. Roberts

Purpose – To compare the histories of two opioid medications that are pharmacologically similar but subject to contrasting regulations in their use in treatment of opiate…

Abstract

Purpose – To compare the histories of two opioid medications that are pharmacologically similar but subject to contrasting regulations in their use in treatment of opiate dependence in the United States – methadone and buprenorphine – in order to analyze the role of racial imagery and racial politics in the legalization and clinical promotion of their use.

Methodology/approach – Historical methods of archival analysis of published articles and unpublished governmental records were used in researching methadone. Ethnographic methods of participant observation and semistructured interviews were used in researching buprenorphine.

Findings – Contrasting uses of racial imagery played a major role in shaping the current regulatory differences between the two treatments. The association of methadone with black and Latino heroin users has contributed to its increased federal regulation, while the association of buprenorphine with white, middle class prescription opioid users enabled its use in deregulated private physicians’ offices.

Originality/value of paper – Advocates of biomedicalization of behaviors and conditions thought of as social or moral, such as addiction, argue that biomedicalization reduces the stigma of the condition and imply that, in turn, it also reduces the racial inequalities associated with the condition. This study of the biomedicalization of treatment for opioid dependence indicates that the very process of biomedicalization depended on heightened racial imagery associated with each treatment and ultimately intensified, rather than reduced, the stigma of addiction for black and Latino low-income patients.

Details

Critical Perspectives on Addiction
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-930-1

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2020

Rita Komalasari, Sarah Wilson, Sudirman Nasir and Sally Haw

In spite of the effectiveness of opioid antagonist treatment (OAT) in reducing injecting drug use and needle sharing, programmes in prison continue to be largely…

Abstract

Purpose

In spite of the effectiveness of opioid antagonist treatment (OAT) in reducing injecting drug use and needle sharing, programmes in prison continue to be largely stigmatised. This affects programme participation and the quality of programmes delivered. This study aims to explore how Indonesian prison staff and prisoners perceived and experienced stigma relating to prison OAT programmes and identify potential strategies to alleviate this stigma.

Design/methodology/approach

Three prisons in Indonesia were selected as part of a qualitative case study. Two of the prisons provided OAT, in the form of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT). Purposive and snowball sampling were used to recruit study participants. In total, 57 semi-structured interviews were conducted with prison governors, health-care staff, prison officers and prisoners. Prisoners included both participants and non-participants in methadone programmes. The data were analysed thematically.

Findings

MMT programme participants were perceived by both prison staff and other prisoners to be engaged in illicit drug use, and as lazy, poor, dirty and unproductive people. They were also presumed to be HIV-positive. These multi-layered, intersectional sources of (inter-personal) stigma amplified the effects on prisoners affecting not only their quality of life and mental health but also their access to prison parole programmes, and therefore the possibility of early release. In addition, organisational factors – notably non-confidential programme delivery and lack of both family and institutional supports for methadone prisoners – exacerbated the stigmatisation of MMT programme participants.

Practical implications

Effective strategies to alleviate stigma surrounding OAT programmes such as MMT programmes are urgently needed to ensure participation in and the quality of programmes in prisons.

Originality/value

Many prisoners reported experiencing stigma relating to their participation in MMT programmes in both the methadone prisons studied. They often emphasised the ways that this stigmatisation was amplified by the ways that MMT programme participation was associated with drug use and HIV infection. However, these intersecting experiences and concerns were not recognised by health-care staff or other prison staff. Effective strategies to alleviate stigma surrounding OAT programmes such as MMT programmes are urgently needed to ensure participation in and the quality of programmes in prisons.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 5 December 2016

David Kingsley Payler

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether it is possible to switch patients from heroin or methadone to buprenorphine without needing to experience symptoms of withdrawal?

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether it is possible to switch patients from heroin or methadone to buprenorphine without needing to experience symptoms of withdrawal?

Design/methodology/approach

Review of author’s experience in 1980s where three patients transferred to 4 mg buprenorphine from 40 ml (1mg/ml) methadone without symptoms of withdrawal. Review of literature where patients were transferred to buprenorphine without waiting for withdrawal symptoms to occur. Presentation of six case histories in author’s clinic.

Findings

Provided the buprenorphine is commenced at a very low dosage, is gradually increased and the heroin/methadone is reduced over a period of time, it is possible to change from heroin or methadone without inducing withdrawal symptoms. It is not necessary to stop the heroin/methadone and wait for withdrawal symptoms to occur.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the author’s retirement in October 2015 further research into the production of a template which could be used universally has not yet been possible.

Practical implications

Transferring patients from heroin and methadone to buprenorphine has often been difficult. Waiting for withdrawal symptoms to occur has often resulted in treatment failure. The method described eliminates the problem for patients.

Social implications

Patients find the method is more acceptable and allows normal functioning.

Originality/value

Confirmation that the findings of the original case histories from 1980s were valid. The value to the treatment service should be considerable in simplifying the prescribing practice.

Details

Drugs and Alcohol Today, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1745-9265

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Article
Publication date: 29 November 2013

Hugh Asher

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate some of the wider aims and potential consequences of maintaining remand and short-term prisoners on methadone, rather than…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate some of the wider aims and potential consequences of maintaining remand and short-term prisoners on methadone, rather than providing them with a rapid detoxification on first reception into prison. Consideration is given to the effects of methadone prescribing on treatment engagement; drug-related violence; treatment choice, including detoxification, maintenance and reduction doses; recidivism; and through care.

Design/methodology/approach

The author draws on qualitative data gathered during a wider study involving drug-using prisoners and prison drug workers exploring the influence of the therapeutic working alliance on outcomes in prison-based drug treatment.

Findings

Whilst participants reported advantages to the prescribing of methadone in prisons, such as reduced levels of bullying and drug-related violence in the prisons, they were also critical of many aspects of methadone prescribing which were intended to increase treatment choice, but in practice, often restricted choice. Drug workers reported that some drug-using prisoners were harder to engage with treatment when they were maintained on methadone.

Research limitations/implications

Data were gathered from two “local” prisons in the same geographical area, and as such, the findings may not be applicable across all prison service establishments. Nonetheless, they highlight important considerations and wider policy implications that could be applicable.

Originality/value

Some previously unreported consequences of methadone prescribing in prisons are discussed, including its potential to increase, rather than decrease heroin use and accompanying crime.

Details

Drugs and Alcohol Today, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1745-9265

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2011

Alexander Johnstone, Tim Duffy and Colin Martin

Buprenorphine (Subutex) was piloted in two Scottish prisons between 2004 and 2006 and consequently used within other penal establishments in Scotland. This 2007…

Abstract

Purpose

Buprenorphine (Subutex) was piloted in two Scottish prisons between 2004 and 2006 and consequently used within other penal establishments in Scotland. This 2007 qualitative study aimed to explore the use of Subutex and its associated effects on 14 participants on detoxification programmes.

Design/methodology/approach

All participants were male, aged from 21 to 44 years with prison sentences ranging from a few months to life imprisonment. Buprenorphine was unavailable to female prisoners at the time of this study. Participants were recruited from seven Scottish prisons. All 14 participants were on detoxification programmes, each was prescribed Subutex, and each was selected from a larger investigation that included both those undergoing detoxification and maintenance (n=21). All participants had previously also used methadone on previous detoxification programmes.

Findings

It can be concluded that the majority of detoxification participants within this study indicated that Subutex was a more effective treatment than methadone as it helped reduce craving, eased the process of withdrawal and improved sleeping patterns. In addition, the majority of participants noted higher levels of motivation and the ability to set goals towards obtaining an improved quality of life.

Originality/value

This study provides an alternative perspective to the use of Subutex within prison settings, when compared with results from previous quantitative studies reported. The study also highlights inconsistencies drawn from studies in this area, which may be an artefact of study design. It is recommended that further qualitative studies be conducted to explore further this alternative perspective. Finally, the issue of methodological approach taken should be addressed within the context of a related, but independent, research forum.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2015

Iain McPhee and Denice Fenton

There is limited research documenting recovery experiences of residential service users. The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions service users on methadone

Abstract

Purpose

There is limited research documenting recovery experiences of residential service users. The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions service users on methadone have about recovery. In depth, semi structured 1-1 interviews with seven poly drug using homeless males between the ages of 37 and 46 and analysed using NVivo software. Results are presented thematically. Participants conform to “recovery” norms allowing stigma and shame of illicit drug use to be attributed to former addict identities. Participants on methadone maintenance report inner conflict arising from changing societal and cultural norms that equate recovery with abstinence. Tensions were revealed in true motivations for active rather than passive participation in adopting group work norms.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative design utilises small numbers of participants to gather rich data. In depth, semi structured 1-1 interviews conducted with seven poly drug using homeless males who have completed between ten and 15 weeks of a minimum 26-week residential treatment programme. Participants were aged 37-46. Results were analysed thematically using NVivo software.

Findings

Participants conform to “recovery” norms allowing stigma and shame of illicit drug use to be attributed to a former stigmatised addict identity. Participants on methadone maintenance report inner conflict arising from changing societal and cultural norms regards recovery and abstinence. A significant process of recovery involved adopting the norms of 12-step groups and TC therapy to gain enough trust to leave the therapeutic community (TC) unsupervised. This created tension regards motivation, were these individuals in recovery, or merely “faking it”?

Research limitations/implications

A female perspective may have provided a more balanced discussion and yielded greater depth in results. Only one service was studied and the findings may be specific to that cohort. The duration of stay at the service of ten to 15 weeks is a relatively short time and excluded participants resident for six months or more. Longer term residents may have been more reflective and informative.

Practical implications

Encourage active options and increased debate on the variety of treatment options available to long term homeless opiate users who have failed to comply with previous treatments. While this is a small modest study, the rich data yields practical advice for policy makers and service providers.

Social implications

This research study adds to an informed perspective by encouraging debate on methadone as a challenge to definitions of recovery that infer abstinence as a key definition of success.

Originality/value

There is a paucity of research documenting a Scottish TC service user perspective using qualitative methods on experiences of addiction, treatment and recovery.

Details

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 36 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-1866

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Article
Publication date: 14 December 2010

Melinda Campopiano

The model of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) in the United States has (for better or for worse) influenced the development of MMT elsewhere. This paper sheds light…

Abstract

The model of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) in the United States has (for better or for worse) influenced the development of MMT elsewhere. This paper sheds light on the origins and progression of MMT and its application today. This perspective may prove helpful to persons and agencies attempting to develop MMT or whose MMT programmes are being subject to ever‐increasing restrictions. The demographics, social and economic risk factors, impact of poly‐substance use and co‐occurring psychiatric disorders (dual diagnosis), and existing evidence supporting dosing and therapeutic interventions in MMT are reviewed and illustrated with a case study.

Details

Advances in Dual Diagnosis, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-0972

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 24 February 2015

Gamal Sadek, Zack Cernovsky and Simon Chiu

Several studies reported high rates of psychiatric commorbidity among methadone patients. We examined the relationships of measures of psychopathology to outcomes of…

Abstract

Several studies reported high rates of psychiatric commorbidity among methadone patients. We examined the relationships of measures of psychopathology to outcomes of screening urine tests for cocaine, opiates, and benzodiazepines in a sample of 56 methadone patients. They also completed the Symptom Check List-90-Revised (SCL-90-R). The highest scales in the SCL-90-R profile of our patients were those indicating somatic discomfort, anger, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, and also obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms (scores above the 39th per centile). The only significant correlations between urine tests and SCL-90-R psychopathology were those involving benzodiazepines: patients with urine tests positive for benzodiazepines had lower social self-confidence (r=0.48), were more obsessive-compulsive (r=0.44), reported a higher level of anger (r=0.41), of phobic tendencies (r=40), of anxiety (r=0.39), and of paranoid tendencies (r=0.38), and also reported more frequent psychotic symptoms (r=0.43).

Details

Mental Illness, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2036-7465

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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2010

Jeff Fernandez and Mark Jones

This paper examines a common presentation to primary care and specialist drug services. Often patients who are experiencing opioid dependencies when stabilising on…

Abstract

This paper examines a common presentation to primary care and specialist drug services. Often patients who are experiencing opioid dependencies when stabilising on methadone often increase their consumption of alcohol. Also, increasingly so, polydrug use is a growing presentation with heroin, crack and alcohol use used in dependent patterns when presenting for treatment.There is often a lack of alcohol detoxification treatment packages given to those who are on methadone, and often some prescribers in the area of substance use regard an alcohol detoxification programme when prescribing methadone as too risky. This has led to a reluctance in general to prescribe an alcohol detoxification programme for many patients who request it. This is the case in Islington, London.This paper looks at a new service set up in Islington, London and looks at the way it has treated the cohort of patients who have presented with polydrug use, including alcohol. It has seen that patients who were more stable on their methadone and had longer histories in treatment were more likely to complete an alcohol detoxification programme with some ‘dry’ time off alcohol. It proposes that while there is a risk of prescribing alcohol detoxification regimes with methadone, there is a cohort of patients were this can be prescribed with a favourable outcome.

Details

Drugs and Alcohol Today, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1745-9265

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