Participants in community-based syringe exchange programs (SEPs) engage in rates of injection drug use that exceed those reported in other populations of substance users (Wood et al., 2007). Prior work by our group has shown that a combination approach incorporating motivational and behavioral interventions is associated with increased rates of methadone treatment enrollment and reduced rates of drug use and other high risk behaviors (Kidorf &Brooner, 2006). Neverthleless, referrals from the SEP achieved worse outcomes in methadone treatment compared to those referred from other sources, including higher rates of drug use and attrition (Kidorf &Brooner, 2006). The proposed 5-year competing continuation application extends our previous work by evaluating stepped-based induction strategies to improve retention and other outcomes of syringe exchangers entering methadone treatment. Opioid-dependent Baltimore Needle Exchange (BNEP) participants (n = 520) that express interest in methadone treatment will complete a clinical assessment battery and be randomly assigned to one of three 3-month treatment induction strategies. The first is a low threshold induction (LTSC) that is broadly modeled on interim methadone maintenance (Schwartz et al., 2006) and designed to more gradually transition SEP participants to the daily structure of maintenance treatment while maximizing exposure to methadone pharmacotherapy. The second is a voucher-based intervention that uses monetary incentives to reinforce treatment engagement to schedules of methadone dosing and stepped-based counseling. The final condition (RSC) will expose participants to routine stepped-care. Participants in all conditions will receive routine stepped care during the final 3-months of participation. All participants will be stabilized on methadone (90 mg) and followed weekly for 6-months. A structured readmission intervention will be used across conditions in efforts to re-engage participants leaving treatment in the context of drug use (Brooner &Kidorf, 2002). Retention, drug use (urinalysis and self-report), and other risk behaviors are the primary outcome measures. Mediational models will evaluate the impact of changes in treatment readiness and satisfaction as predictors of outcome. These findings will inform the field on evidenced-based strategies to optimize methadone treatment effectiveness for this important subgroup of injection opioid users.
Treatment-seeking opioid users referred from community syringe exchange programs (SEPs) have more severe drug problems and achieve worse treatment outcomes (i.e., higher rates of drug use and attrition) than individuals referred from other sources. The proposed 5-year competing continuation application evaluates two novel stepped-based induction strategies (compared to usual stepped-care) to improve retention and other outcomes in syringe exchangers entering methadone treatment.
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