This study evaluated the effects of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) compared with treatments that did not involve opioid replacement therapy (i.e., detoxification, offer of drug‐free rehabilitation, placebo medication, wait‐list controls) for opioid dependence.
The authors searched all the following databases up to 2001: Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Review Group Register, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Current Contents, Psychlit, CORK [www. state.vt.su/adap/cork], Alcohol and Drug Council of Australia (ADCA) [www.adca.org.au], Australian Drug Foundation (ADF‐VIC) [www.adf.org.au], Centre for Education and Information on Drugs and Alcohol (CEIDA) [www.ceida.net.au], Australian Bibliographic Network (ABN), and Library of Congress databases, available NIDA monographs and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence Inc. proceedings, the reference lists of all identified studies and published reviews; authors of identified RCTs were asked about other published or unpublished relevant RCTs. Reviewers evaluated the papers separately and independently, rating methodological quality of concealment of allocation, data were extracted independently for meta‐analysis and double‐entered. Methadone is an effective maintenance therapy intervention for the treatment of heroin dependence, as it retains patients in treatment and decreases heroin use better than treatments that do not utilize opioid replacement therapy. It does not show a statistically significant superior effect on criminal activity. (Published abstract provided)