Attitudes Toward Buprenorphine and Methadone Among Opioid-Dependent Individuals

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Attitudes and beliefs about drug abuse treatment have long been known to shape response to that treatment. Two major pharmacological alternatives are available for opioid dependence: methadone, which has been available for the past 40 years, and buprenorphine, a recently introduced medication. This mixed-methods study examined the attitudes of opioid-dependent individuals toward methadone and buprenorphine. A total of 195 participants (n = 140 who were enrolling in one of six Baltimore area methadone programs and n = 55 who were out-of-treatment) were administered the Attitudes toward Methadone and toward Buprenorphine Scales, and a subset (n = 46) received an ethnographic interview. The in-treatment group had significantly more positive attitudes toward methadone than did the out-of-treatment group (p < .001), while they did not differ in their attitudes toward buprenorphine. Both groups had significantly more positive attitudes toward buprenorphine than methadone. Addressing these attitudes may increase treatment entry and retention.

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