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Correctional facilities need to focus on staff attitudes and knowledge about methadone, according to a recent study which found that older and more educated security staff and medical staff can lead the way in helping methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) gain acceptance in correctional clinics.
Establishing prison-based MMT has long been a goal of advocates. In most localities, jail inmates are usually forced to abruptly end MMT. A handful of jurisdictions around the country have some provisions for offering incarcerated individuals methadone treatment.
The study was published in this month's Addiction Research and Theory.
Efforts to improve access to MMT and buprenorphine treatment in jails include pending legislation in New Mexico (see story, page 2) and an American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD) project (see story, page 3).
The study, "Staff Perspectives on Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) in a Large Southwestern Jail," found that correctional facilities wanting to provide MMT first need to change staff attitudes about opiate addicts and about methadone as an effective treatment for addiction.
Researchers developed a 45-item "Knowledge, Attitudes and Readiness to Adopt" survey and administered it to 114 jail staff over a two-week period in the spring of 2003. The goal of this research is to help policymakers develop effective training strategies for …