Re-thinking patient stability for methadone in opioid treatment programs during a global pandemic: Provider perspectives

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2021 May;124:108223. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2020.108223. Epub 2020 Dec 5.

Abstract

COVID-19 necessitated rapid changes in methadone take-home policies in opioid treatment programs (OTPs); these changes markedly contrast with existing, long-standing federal mandates on OTP rules about take-home methadone. OTP providers describe how these changes have affected clinical decision-making, equity in patient care, and workflow. We also discuss implications for medical ethics and patient autonomy. We provide suggestions for future research that will examine the impact of COVID-19 on OTP treatment and its patients, as well as the effect of making methadone take-home polices patient centered, all of which may foreshadow larger changes in the ways OTPs deliver their services.

Keywords: COVID-19; Methadone; OTPs; Opioid treatment programs; Take-home dosing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Clinical Decision-Making / ethics*
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Methadone / supply & distribution
  • Methadone / therapeutic use*
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Workflow

Substances

  • Methadone