Defunding the poor: The impact of lost access to subsidized methadone maintenance treatment on women injection drug users

Kelly R. Knight, Marsha Rosenbaum, Margaret S. Kelley, Jeanette Irwin, Allyson Washburn, Lynn Wenger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Qualitative data from women defunded from a subsidized methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) program were analyzed to determine the impact of defunding on the women and their dependents. Women attested to the efficacy of MMT in creating a stable environment in which their illicit drug use was eliminated or controlled; they were able to decrease their participation in illicit activities and pursue further employment and educational goals. When de funding occurred women employed a variety of strategies including family borrowing, welfare funds, and illicit activities to remain on private MMT programs. The result of these payment strategies was often a premature detoxification from MMT due to unpaid clinic bills. Many women returned to heroin use to alleviate withdrawal symptoms from methadone detoxification. This return to heroin use was also accompanied by increased illicit activities. Defunded women reported severe emotional and financial destabilization as a result of lost access to subsidized methadone maintenance treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-942
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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