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Bull Narc. 1977 Apr-Jun;29(2):45-53.

Patterns of drug use among methadone maintenance patients in Los Angeles county.


Any evaluation of the effectiveness of methadone maintenance programmes in rehabilitating heroin addicts is inherently complex and subject to varied interpretations, both scientific and philosophical. From a scientific perspective, it is necessary to accumulate sufficient factual data to validate any hypothetical conclusions. A retrospective survey of drug-use patterns among the methadone maintenance population of Los Angeles County was undertaken in an effort to provide some such information. Over 5,000 urine samples from 730 paitients were analysed for eleven drugs over a two-month period in 1975. Over 23 per cent of these samples were found positive for a drug other than methadone and 80 per cent of these positives were attributed to illicitly used drugs. The opiates (codeine and morphine) comprised almost 74 per cent of the drugs found while barbiturates and amphetamine and/or methamphetamine contributed 16 per cent and 10 per cent to the total, respectively.

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