Methadone in Irish General Practice: Voices of Service Users

  • Linda Latham

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Health (DHealth)


This study sets out to make a meaningful and useful contribution to the discussion surrounding the treatment of heroin addiction in the Republic of Ireland. The exploration describes the experiences of service users who are receiving methadone treatment in general practice in Dublin and provides recommendations for practice. A Husserlian phenomenological approach drawing on the psychological research methods of Colazzi informed this study. This qualitative descriptive genre was coupled with the genre of reflexive methodology and utilised the techniques of bracketing interviews and polyvocality. The study took place in nine urban general practices in Dublin city. Twenty five service users were interviewed indepth. The data were analyzed using the methodology espoused by Collazzi (1978). Four themes emerged from the data: Service users’ experience of attending general practice for methadone maintenance; The significance of methadone for the service user; Service users’ understanding of the Methadone Treatment Protocol and The experience of addiction and it’s effect on families. Service users’ accounts traced the historical steps that influenced the introduction of the MTP. Their depictions of their experience of treatment shed light on the process of care in general practice and how clinical guidelines have been interpreted and developed locally. The study identified what it is that affects the delivery of methadone treatment from the users’ perspective. It provides insight into the harm reduction policy of methadone maintenance and highlights how, from the service users’ own experience, the implementation is falling short. The data identify that the delivery of methadone treatment requires a sustained policy review, informed by a clinical perspective on all issues related to regulations, practice guidelines, and treatment resourcing. The recommendations suggest that to be truly effective, strategies which recognize the importance of user involvement need to be addressed.
Date of Award1 Sept 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJ Scott (Supervisor)

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