The evidence of methadone maintenance treatment's (MMT) impact on reducing crime and other harms is overwhelming, yet its implementation is limited in the community and in prison.
We will develop an Information Kit on MMT for key stakeholders to improve their understanding of MMT. Stakeholders include parliamentarians, local government, prison and health department officers and GPs. The Information Kit will cover the effectiveness of MMT, global implementation and consistency with Australia's national drug policy. The Kit will be evaluated by measuring people's knowledge before and after exposure to the Kit. An indicator of success would be increased implementation of methadone.
The aim of the project is to develop and design an Information Kit on opioid substitution treatment for key stakeholders and to measure any subsequent change in implementation of MMT. Similar to the Needle and Syringe Program Information Kit produced by the Principal Investigator and colleagues in 2005 (Dolan, Dillon, & Silins, 2005; Dolan, MacDonald, Silins, & Topp, 2005), the MMT Information Kit will contain a plain-language summary of the rationale for MMT and summarise key research findings in relation to the effects of MMT on heroin users' health and criminality.
A literature review was conducted to provide the most recent research on the use of opioid substitution therapy.
The project was completed in October 2015 and the information kit has been published and disseminated.
The information kit consists of two booklets which are available for download on the NDARC website:
MATOD - Your questions answered: https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/resource/medication-assisted-treatment-opioid-dependence-your-questions-answered
MATOD – A review of the evidence: https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/resource/medication-assisted-treatment-opioid-dependence-review-evidence
Access to treatment for drug dependence is a key objective of Australia's National Drug Strategy. The 'gold standard' of treatment for heroin dependence is MMT. Treated heroin users reduce their heroin use and criminal activity significantly. Yet resource allocation to this crime prevention strategy is limited. We will attempt to identify the barriers to methadone provision and address them in our Information Kit.
By providing stakeholders with accurate information about MMT this Kit will assist policymakers to make informed, evidence-based decisions when determining policies in relation to health and criminal justice.