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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220786 Find in a Library
Title: Attitudes and Beliefs Towards Methadone Maintenance Treatment Among Australian Prison Health Staff
Journal: Drug and Alcohol Review  Volume:26  Issue:5  Dated:September 2007  Pages:501-508
Author(s): Linn R. Gjersing; Tony Butler; John R.M. Caplehorn; Josephine M. Belcher; Richard Matthews
Date Published: September 2007
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Justice Health
MALABAR NSW 2036, Australia
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This study examined the attitudes of prison health staff toward prison-based methadone treatment for inmate heroin addiction in New South Wales (Australia) and compared them with the attitudes of community methadone program staff.
Abstract: The study found that the level of support for total abstinence from any drug use as a condition of treatment had more support among prison health staff than among staff involved in methadone maintenance in the community. Prison health staff were more aware of the toxic effects of methadone abuse than their community counterparts, which might be due to their having witnessed inmate overdoses from methadone. Prison staff who had completed a postgraduate course or received inservice training on methadone were less likely to disapprove of drug use than those who had received no additional training. Increased knowledge of the benefits of methadone maintenance in treating heroin addicts could explain why community methadone program staff were less likely to support abstinence from all drugs as a condition of treatment. Since the dispensing of methadone is a major part of the daily routine for prison health staff, it is important that improvements be made in training and education regarding the benefits of such treatment as well as ways to prevent any abuse and adverse consequences of improper methadone consumption. All permanent health staff (n=396) employed by Justice Health New South Wales in either clinical or health management positions were eligible for inclusion in this survey. Those surveyed included staff in prison health clinics and mental health staff located within courts, police cell complexes, periodic detention centers, and health management. The survey instrument consisted of two attitudinal scales and two scales on knowledge about methadone and its use in drug treatment. Three questions addressed harm minimization. A total of 188 useable surveys were returned. 6 tables and 23 references
Main Term(s): Drug treatment programs
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Correctional personnel attitudes; Foreign criminal justice research; Heroin maintenance; Inmate drug treatment; Inmate treatment; Methadone maintenance; New South Wales
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