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Characteristics and response to treatment among Aboriginal people receiving heroin-assisted treatment.

Author(s): Oviedo-Joekes E, Guh D, Marsh DC, Brissette S, Nosyk B, Krausz M, Anis A, Christian WM, Spittal P, Schechter MT

Affiliation(s): School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. eugenia@mail.cheos.ubc.ca

Publication date & source: 2010-05, Can J Public Health., 101(3):210-2.

Publication type: Comparative Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

BACKGROUND: Medically prescribed diacetylmorphine, the active ingredient of heroin, has been shown to be effective for the treatment of severe opioid addiction. However, there are no data regarding its effectiveness among Aboriginal heroin injectors. METHODS: The present analyses were performed using data from the NAOMI study (North American Opiate Maintenance Initiative), an open-label randomized controlled trial that compared the effectiveness of injectable diacetylmorphine (45.8%) and hydromorphone (10%) vs. oral methadone (44.2%) among long-term treatment-refractory opioid-dependent individuals. Rates of retention and response to treatment were analyzed among participants from the Vancouver site (n = 192). RESULTS: Baseline profiles were similar among Aboriginal (n = 60) and non-Aboriginal (n = 132) participants except for higher HIV positive rates among Aboriginal people (23.3% vs. 8.3%). Among Aboriginal participants in the injection and methadone groups, retention rates at 12 months were 84.4% vs. 57.1% and response rates were 68.8% vs. 53.4%, respectively. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal rates were not significantly different. DISCUSSION: Offering treatment assisted with medically prescribed diacetylmorphine or hydromorphone to long-term treatment-refractory opioid-dependent Aboriginal people could be an effective way to attract them into and retain them in treatment as well as dramatically reduce the risk of HIV infection.

Page last updated: 2010-10-05

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