How do women in methadone maintenance treatment perceive their progress in treatment and recovery
(Branco) Quinterno, Robin M.
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PURPOSE: This qualitative study explores the perceptions of women diagnosed with Opiate Use Disorder enrolled in Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT). The purpose is to gain an understanding of the women’s perceptions of their treatment and recovery. RESEARCH QUESTIONS: Research questions explored: the women’s experiences and perceptions related to recovery on dimensions such as family, social network, sense of identity, motivations for continued recovery, and relapse prevention methods; their belief in their ability to succeed; changes in personal identity from a drug user to a non-drug-user; and the role of the methadone medication in their recovery. SAMPLE: Criteria included women 35-50 years of age with a history of opioid addiction for at least 5 years; regular attendance at the Methadone program; abstinent from alcohol and illicit drugs for 12- 18 months. RESEARCH DESIGN: A convenience sample of thirty-one women was interviewed using semi-structured interviews, conducted by the PI. Open-ended questions were asked to elicit the women’s views. The PI conducted a record review to verify that the women had a history of opioid addiction, were regular attendees of the MMT program, and had maintained the period of abstinence that they reported. Methods included Thematic Analysis. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS: Guiding frameworks were the Developmental Model of Recovery (Brown, 1985), describing healthy adaptation following a period of debilitation, and Symbolic Interactionism (Blumer, 1969), describing social interactions as mutually developed exchanges to which individuals bring their own symbolic meanings. FINDINGS: These women had positive perceptions of their recovery and changes in themselves including becoming more responsible, reuniting with their families and developing personal insight. They saw methadone as crucial to their recovery. Although they saw themselves as fairly well along in recovery, they believed they could not be fully recovered until they were off methadone. IMPLICATIONS: Findings help us understand the women’s perception of how MMT and behavioral and personal changes contributed to their recovery. Although these women, who were abstinent and treatment-compliant for at least one year, were able to ignore or reframe their experiences of methadone stigma, the stigma may contribute to treatment drop out for some women, especially early in treatment