Psychoeducation on promoting health management and safe behaviors needs to be incorporated into heroin users’ methadone maintenance therapy (MMT), recommended I-Ming Chen of National Taiwan University Hospital, and his colleagues.

That was one of the conclusions of a retrospective cohort study of 789 adult, heroin-using participants in an MMT program in Taiwan. The recommendation was based on the study having found that heroin users more frequently used costly emergency service and less frequently received inpatient and outpatient services compared with the general population.

According to the study, 154 (19.5%) of patients in the experimental group had visited the emergency department a total of 298 times over the course of 2 years. Furthermore, 11 (1.4%) such patients visited the ED more than five times during that period.

The patients primarily used health services for infectious diseases, orthopedic problems, and gastroenterological disorders, mainly due to blood-borne or local infections and accidental injury.

Of the ED visits, most were or medical help or surgical complaints, according to the study. Read the full study here (Addict. Behav. 2015;45:281-6).

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