Some OTPs Discharge, Others Taper for Illicit Benzodiazepine Use

June 4th, 2012

AT Forum (5/29/12): Benzodiazepine use and abuse by patients on methadone is a pressing concern for opioid treatment programs (OTPs) because of potentially dangerous drug interactions, especially during induction, so it was a natural selection for a “hot-topic” meeting at the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD) conference in April, moderated by Ron Jackson, MSW, LICSW.

Some OTPs simply decrease methadone doses for patients whose urine drug tests are positive for benzodiazepines, but Mr. Jackson said there’s no science to support this, as the tests do not measure how much the patient is taking.  In fact, there aren’t many tools for patients who are abusing benzodiazepines, said Mr. Jackson. “I wish there were some sort of benzodiazepine antagonist. Other than cognitive-behavioral therapy to resist cravings, there isn’t anything.”

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