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Principal Investigator

  • Ian Sheerin

Supported by HRC, ALAC


Research was undertaken on health outcomes for a cohort of 85 people who were receiving methadone maintenance for opioid dependence. Research participants (34 Maori and 51 non-Maori) were followed over an average period of 18 months. On average they had been stabilised on methadone maintenance for 5 years. Large reductions in drug use and crime were reported by participants. Significant improvements were observed in health status. However, 89% had contracted hepatitis C virus and few of them had received follow-up or anti-viral therapy. Also, the participants reported continuing high rates of use of tobacco, cannabis and low levels of employment.

Provision of anti-viral therapy for hepatitis C virus as well as methadone maintenance was found to be cost-effective, compared with other treatments that are currently funded.


  • Detailed results are in a Ph D thesis which is available at the Christchurch School of Medicine Library: Consequences of drug use and benefits of methadone maintenance therapy for Maori and non-Maori injecting drug users by Ian Sheerin, University of Otago, Dunedin, 2004.
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