Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Is MMT Counseling Replaceable Too?

By now, we've all heard about the recent studies challenging the conventional wisdom on counseling in buprenorphine treatment. Now comes news about a new approach for methadone maintenance treatment, too - this one an even scarier prospect for fellow counselors. Authors of an in-press article in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment substituted 1/2 of the traditional counseling in an MMT clinic for a web-based behavioral intervention called the "Therapeutic Education System" (TES). The results showed significantly better outcomes (measured as % weeks of opioid abstinence) in the group randomized to reduced standard treatment plus TES, compared to the group who received only standard treatment.
Figure 2 from the study:
Full-size image (29 K)

As demand for technology-based interventions grows, it's likely we'll continue to see treatment adjuncts like this one more and more often. What I'd like to know is how data like this will be viewed by the chorus of experts advocating for a change to the current MMT-Clinic system? Seems to me it would be welcome news.


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