The HE METHADONE Maintenance Research Program1-3 began three years ago with pharmacological studies conducted on the metabolic ward of the Rockefeller University Hospital. Only six addict patients were treated during the first year, but the results of this work were sufficiently impressive to justify a trial of maintenance treatment of heroin addicts admitted to open medical wards of general hospitals in the city.
A simple, and somewhat arbitrary, procedure was established. Addicts applying for the methadone program were accepted if they met the following criteria: age between 20 and 40, a history of at least four years of "mainline" heroin use with repeated relapses after withdrawal treatment, absence of major complication (psychosis or serious medical illness, disabling addiction to barbiturates or alcohol), and absence of compulsion (eg, acceptance of the treatment not a condition for probation or parole). After entering the program the patients were admitted to a hospital