Attitudes of Methadone Program Staff Toward Provision of Harm-Reduction and Other Services

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Abstract

Objective:

The need for expansion of health services provided in drug treatment programs has been widely discussed since the beginning of the HIV epidemic among drug users. Service expansion has focused on various types of services including medical services (eg, primary care) and harm-reduction services (eg, provision of sterile syringes).

Methods:

A staff survey was conducted in 8 methadone maintenance clinics in the New York/New Jersey area to assess attitudes toward the provision of harm reduction and other services in methadone clinics, and the relationship of these attitudes to other variables.

Participants:

A total of 114 staff members in 8 methadone maintenance clinics completed the survey.

Results:

The majority of staff was supportive of adding services, over 90% supported medical services, and the majority supported harm-reduction services such as syringe access and disposal services. Higher education and HIV knowledge levels were significant correlates of favorable attitudes toward service provision.

Conclusions:

Support for providing harm-reduction services in methadone maintenance clinics was found. Enhancing knowledge of staff regarding various types of health services, and engaging them in how best to institute new services, should be undertaken when new services are planned.

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