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Letters to the Editor
March 2009

Insufficient Information in Drug-Related Hospital Morbidity Study

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(3):331-332. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2008.549

Regarding the article by Ngo and colleagues on “drug-related hospital morbidity” associated with methadone treatment and with naltrexone implants,1 insufficient information makes interpretation of the findings impossible.

For methadone treatment, there is reference to “statewide annual report estimates” of retention for inpatient methadone maintenance treatment (could there really be such programs in Australia?) and for outpatient services. However, based on those statewide figures, without even a time frame as to duration of retention, one cannot venture a guess as to how many of the 522 individuals starting methadone treatment and included in this analysis remained in treatment for a few days or conceivably for the entire 3½-year observation period after enrollment. In any event, the reader also has no way of ascertaining the intervals between “hospital morbidity” and the last administration of methadone; here, too, it might have been a day or more than 3 years.

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