The official journal of
EUROPAD - European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association
WFTOD - World Federation for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence
Editor: Icro Maremmani, MD - Pisa, Italy, EU
Associate Editors:
Thomas Clausen, MD - Oslo, Norway
Pier Paolo Pani, MD - Cagliari, Italy, EU
Marta Torrens, MD - Barcelona, Spain, EU
Statistical Editor:
Mario Miccoli, PhD - Pisa, Italy, EU

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Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems: 2024, 26, 13

Satisfaction of patients on methadone maintenance treatment with changing policies during the COVID-19 pandemic

Anat Sason, Marsha Weinstein, Miriam Adelson, Shaul Schreiber, and Einat Peles

Digital Object Identifier:

Summary: Background: The COVID-19 pandemic led to several restrictions, particularly lockdowns, that required the adaptation of the routine functioning of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) clinics – typically through take-home dose (THD) expansion. We aimed to study whether methadone maintenance treatment patients' satisfaction changed following the second as compared to the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Methods: A satisfaction questionnaire covering diverse aspects of COVID-19, which asked for respondents' level of agreement (1 to 5), was administered to a non-selective sample of patients personally (N=44) during August 2020, and anonymously (N=120) during one week in January 2022. Results: The level of patients' protective hygiene behaviour to prevent COVID-19 infection was higher in the second survey (4.3±0.9 vs 4.0±0.6, p=0.03), as was satisfaction with the clinic’s adaptation to the pandemic (4.0±0.9 vs 3.5±0.5, p<0.001). Although patients scored higher on exposure to illicit substances, their actual urine test outcomes for illegal substances did not change (2.1±1.3 vs. 1.4±0.8, p=0.002). Patients without regular THD had lower scores of protective hygiene behaviour and satisfaction with the clinic’s adaptation in both surveys. Conclusions: Patients’ satisfaction and sense of safety following the clinic’s adaptation to the pandemic were higher at the second evaluation. Despite the improvement in patients’ satisfaction with the adjustments made during the prolonged emergency imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, research should be dedicated to the increase in illicit substance use perceived by patients during this period, as this was not borne out by tested-for-drug abuse rates, which were comparable to pre-pandemic rates.

Keywords: Satisfaction; methadone maintenance treatment; take home dose; COVID-19 pandemic policy


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