Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Promoting abstinence for drug users

Maintenance treatment is not rocket science

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 03 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2773
  1. Andrew Byrne, addiction physician1
  1. 1Private Practice, Redfern, NSW 2016, Australia
  1. ajbyrne{at}

Luty is unduly pessimistic about long term abstinence after opioid maintenance treatment.1 About 4% of addicted people become abstinent each year, regardless of treatment.2 By 10 years, over a third are abstinent. The remainder are mostly on maintenance treatment, a small, efficient part of any health system, which often needs little more than an …

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