A recent study based on an anonymous survey of methadone patients in a Baltimore, Maryland opioid treatment program (OTP) found that more than half of benzodiazepine users attending group meetings had started using these drugs after entering methadone maintenance (MM) treatment.
The authors caution that their study results should not be used to make clinic policy, or to change operations. This article could be helpful to OTPs as they try to deal with the issue of benzodiazepine abuse.
“The study findings suggest that most methadone programs do not address co-occurring anxiety problems,” the authors concluded. Further study is needed “to develop effective treatments that will simultaneously target addiction symptoms, anxiety disorders,” and misuse of benzodiazepines.
The authors noted that benzodiazepine misuse increases the risk for relapse and overdose.
The study, Benzodiazepine Use and Misuse Among Patients in a Methadone Program, by Kevin W. Chen et al, is published in BMC Psychiatry, May 19, 2011. The article is available for free download at: http://atforum.com/documents/Benzodiazepines.pdf.