Comparing the Mental Health Treatment and Abuse Histories of Men and Women Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program (MMTP) Participants

Key Words

Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT), mental health, women offenders

Impetus

It is well documented that high rates of mental health issues and trauma, such as being the victim of abuse, exist among substance abusing populations, in particular among women. Mental health issues and trauma have been linked to substance abuse, and have implications for the treatment of substance abuse disorders (Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, 2009). Gaining a better understanding of the prevalence of mental health issues and trauma among Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program (MMTP) (currently known as the Opioid Substitution Therapy Program (OSTP)Footnote 1 participants will help CSC in meeting the needs of program participants.

What we did

The Addictions Research Centre, in partnership with Health Services, collects and manages administrative MMTP data for program participants. Using data collected from 678 offenders initiated in CSC's MMTP between January 1, 2009 and September 1, 2011, we compared the mental health treatment and abuse histories of men (n = 611) and women (n = 67) MMTP participants.

What we found

Approximately 97% of women and 77% of men MMTP participants reported being a victim of abuse, engaging in suicidal or self injurious behavior, and/or being treated for a mental health issue in their lifetime. While observed among a striking proportion of both men and women, these issues were more commonly experienced by women than by men. Figure 1 details the proportion of men and women who reported a history of mental, physical, or sexual abuse, as well as various mental health issues.

Figure 1: Percentage of Offenders Reporting Lifetime History of Mental Health Treatment and Abuse Histories by Gender

Percentage of offenders reporting lifetime history of mental health treatment and abuse histories by Gender

Figure 1: Percentage of offenders reporting lifetime history of mental health treatment and abuse histories by Gender

This bar chart compares men and women offenders who reported lifetime history of mental health treatment and abuse and who were initiated into CSC's Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program (MMTP) between January 1, 2009 and September 1, 2011 (n = 678). With respect to mental health treatment, 48% of men and 62% of women were treated for anxiety, 49% of men and 64% of women were treated for depression, 24% of men and 41% of women were treated for panic disorders, and 12% of both men and women offenders were treated for psychosis. 27% of men and 47% of women reported at least one previous suicide attempt, while 15% of men and 26% of women reported a history of self-injurious behaviour. Finally, with respect to abuse histories, 33% of men and 82% of women were mentally abused, 36% of men and 92% of women were physically abused, and 26% of men and 82% of women were sexually abused.

What it means

These results indicate the need to consider history of abuse and mental health issues in the treatment of opioid dependent offenders, in particular in women offender populations.

References:

Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. (2009). Substance abuse in Canada: Concurrent disorders. Ottawa, On: Author.

Prepared by: Mary-Ann MacSwain & Madelon Cheverie

Contact

Research Branch
(613) 995-3975
research@csc-scc.gc.ca

Footnotes

Footnote 1

In 2008, CSC expanded the Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program (MMTP) to also provide Suboxone to offenders meeting the eligibility criteria, thus becoming the Opioid Substitution Therapy Program (OSTP).

Return to footnote 1 referrer