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Perceptions of Methadone Maintained Clients About Barriers and Facilitators to Help-Seeking Behavior

Background: Among substance users, health seeking remains a major challenge for which few data are available.

Objectives: We sought to investigate the perceptions of methadone-maintained heroin users who are also problem or heavy drinkers, their barriers and facilitators to seeking help for substance and general and chronic care treatment.

Methods: A qualitative design using a semistructured focus group approach was conducted with a convenience sample of 41 adult clients of a methadone maintenance facility in Los Angeles.

Results: Findings revealed that discrimination was a major challenge experienced as a result of their methadone status. Lack of primary care providers, limited access to health care facilities and access barriers were pervasive. Focus group participants expressed a desire for nonjudgemental and empathetic care that would foster respect and facilitate help-seeking behaviors through a comprehensive support system.

Conclusions: The need to design culturally relevant training programs was evident which included an integration of treatment, communication and societal issues.