Addiction management remains a challenge for the health care system of any modern society and it largely determines the recovery and the rehabilitation of drug addicts. Among the various therapeutic approaches, opioid substitution treatment using methadone has been offered internationally since 1965, though its effectiveness raises several questions. Proponents of the use of methadone argue that it helps reducing the parallel use of other substances, maintains high retention on treatment rates, improves the users’ health and reduces their delinquent behavior. Contrastingly, many mental health professionals state that methadone is just another “drug”, meaning that the person remains in a lifelong state of dependency with his/her quality of life deteriorating. Thus the goal of full detoxification is undermined. The purpose of this paper is to present the contribution of methadone treatment programs in the quality of life of drug- dependent people, through international literature review. Research data, as reflected in the literature, might help develop a new philosophy on the use of methadone, with a different target- setting and an eventual revision of the term “chronic relapsing disease” for the addicted people, which overlooks their efforts to achieve a complete rehabilitation.
Key-words: methadone, drug addiction, quality of life, substitution treatment