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Addiction Maintenance

  • By: Catriona Matheson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Addiction maintenance is the broad concept of prescribing a substitute drug that will maintain an addict so that they do not experience withdrawal effects, but will not achieve a “high.” This approach is often used to stabilize individuals who have a chaotic lifestyle with a high level of risk-taking behavior, and who may be funding their habit through crime. Addiction maintenance treatment is a pragmatic approach that could be considered as coming under the broad concept of “harm reduction,” which gained strength when human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) emerged in the 1980s. Maintenance prescribing in opiate addiction has a strong evidence base, with methadone being the most widely used drug. By contrast, a maintenance approach is rarely used in psychostimulant addiction (e.g., amphetamine substitute prescribing), ...

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