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Changes in the Number of Methadone Maintenance Slots as Measures of "Fighting Back" Program Effectiveness

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Issues Volume: 36 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2006 Pages: 313-330
David Livert; Charles Winick
Date Published
18 pages
As a component of the evaluation of a nationwide demonstration of "Fighting Back," a comprehensive community-based drug prevention program, this study examined trends in the number of available methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) slots over the 10 years of the program.
Contrary to expectations, the program's implementation was linked to less expansion of MMT slots when compared to control communities over the evaluation period. This trend was not linked to patterns of opioid use in the communities, which did not change during the same period. To the extent that an increase in available MMT slots was a valid measure of expansion of treatment capacity, this goal of the Fighting Back program was not achieved. The lack of an expansion of MMT slots suggests a shift away from the medical model in priorities among the local networks of drug treatment providers. The general program evaluation began in 1994 and continued through 2000. The evaluation used the number of MMT programs in a community--as measured by the number of available slots--as a potential outcome measure of the Fighting Back program. Change in the number of MMT treatment slots in both program and comparison communities were tracked from 1991 to 2000, the period prior to and during program implementation. Each State methadone liaison office indicated the number of MMT slots in requested communities on a data sheet that indicated spaces for each community, listed for every year between 1991 and 2000. Respondents were also asked to comment on any additional facets of the MMT slot data. Of the 12 regional agencies approached to participate in the study, 10 provided data (83-percent response rate). 3 tables, 2 figures, and 33 references