Opioids such as heroin are the third most commonly used illegal drugs in the world, after cannabis and amphetamine-type stimulants. Heroin dependence can lead to serious health, social and economic consequences for users, their families and society. However, heroin or opioid dependence can be treated with medication and psychosocial support. This form of treatment is called medication-assisted treatment of opioid dependence (MATOD). The most common medicines used in Australia are methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. There is a strong body of research that underpins the use of these and other medicines; however, some people are uncertain about the role of MATOD in treating heroin or opioid use and dependence.
This information kit includes two booklets. This booklet provides a review of evidence of MATOD, while the second booklet answers some of the most frequently asked questions about MATOD and addresses common misunderstandings.
The Australian National Council on Drugs funded the development of this information kit.