As part of a general trend in modern society, the voice of the 'consumers' of the services of the welfare state has gained increased legitimacy. However, this is not the case when it comes to drug-treatment users. The continuing neglect of this group's experiences is also reflected in methadone maintenance treatment research. This article seeks to counter this imbalance by exploring users' experiences with enhanced psychosocial methadone maintenance treatment. The findings rest on an evaluation of the Danish Methadone Project. As part of the evaluation 37 semi-structured qualitative interviews with users were made, and two months of participant observation were conducted in the clinics. An important finding is that the users highlighted the form of the treatment as much as the actual content. It was not primarily the content of the services, but how the services were carried out that mattered. Most crucially, the users highlighted the attitude of the counsellor, the accessibility of spontaneous counselling, and spaces that facilitated non-stigmatizing social encounters. While drug users do not provide the definitive statement about the value of drug service provision, listening to their voices is a necessary step in building an ethically sound approach to drug treatment, with a high degree of client support where the treatment provided meets the consumers needs.
Drugs, 2007, Vol 14, Issue 3, p. 261-275
Drug-treatment research; Users' view; Psychosocial methadone maintenance treatment; Drug services