Healthcare usage outside the programme (/ year) 8.6 7.4
Inpatient stays (weeks / year) Less than a week Less than a week
Criminal activity against property (days / year) 10.3 37.5
Arrests (times / year) 2.1 2.8
Convictions (times / year) 0.25 0.54
Table 3: Data extracts showing the mean per patient from multiple tables in the article
The authors then move on the calculating the costs related to both treatments, using cost utility.
The following bar graph summarises the findings (Mean values):
Figure 2: Bar chart showing the savings that could be achieved using co-prescribed methadone in heroin-addicted patients (10)
Thus far in the study, one can observe that even though on face value the cost of using heroin in conjunction to methadone in the treatment of drug addicted patients seems considerably higher. The implications on society in terms of less use of public health and law enforcement services, along with considerably lower damage to society, compensate for this initial higher treatment cost.
Value of study for healthcare professionals
Although the study was conducted more than a decade ago, the results of this study hold a significant importance in the present day in defining the prescribing trends of methadone and heroin in the UK. The main costs related to methadone/co-prescribed heroin management are associated with expensive daily practicing procedures for safety prescribing, which include, regular urine and blood monitoring. The presence of health workers on site is essential for efficient prescribing of heroin and the availability of security personnel to avoid any misadventures by drug addicts. Taking all these costs into consideration, there is a need to scale up knowledge in evaluating the costs of methadone management per patient per year in present day scenario. Study costs in the year of study (2001) have been adjusted to 2% general price index for the year 2005, when the research was published. However, the same statistical measure cannot be used to estimate and implicate the possible costs of methadone or heroin management in 2014.
Various studies have been performed in the UK in determining the cost-effective method of treatment for heroin addicts. A comparative analysis by ISD Scotland reported a 36% rise in the cost of methadone prescriptions in 5 years from 2007 to 2011. However, only 9% rise in the number of methadone prescriptions has been reported for the same period. The undue surge in cost of methadone management has been attributed to the rise in supervision fees. Although the cost of methadone has been fluctuating since 2007, it has remained almost the same in 2011.
A multisite, randomised clinical trial study by Strang et al., 2010, reported that patients treated with prescribed heroin were more inclined to quit resorting to street heroin when compared to patients on methadone treatment (5). This exhibits the increasing likeness of heroin addicts towards heroin and the sense of...