Medications in the treatment of addiction: workplace issues

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Drug Therapy, Combination; Female; Humans; Male; Methadone; Narcotics; Occupational Health Services; Occupational Medicine; Prognosis; Risk Assessment; Substance Withdrawal Syndrome; Substance-Related Disorders; *Workplace




Despite resistance from some treatment providers, medications play an increasingly important role in the treatment of substance dependence disorders. Goals of pharmacotherapy are discussed in terms of a four-stage model of treatment: acute withdrawal, protracted withdrawal, abstinence, and maintenance. The greatest controversy centers on the use of medications during the abstinence and maintenance phases of recovery. Particularly controversial, despite considerable supporting scientific data, is the lon -term use of agonists such as methadone. Occupational physicians and other non-prescribing staff can play a crucial role by supporting the responsible use of medications, maintaining contact with other medical and psychosocial treatment providers, enlisting support for medication compliance in patients' personal and professional support systems, advocating for comprehensive and humane patient care, and being alert to signs of medication misuse.

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Citation: Occup Med. 2002 Jan-Mar;17(1):91-104, v.

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