1959 CE
Methadone treatment begins in Vancouver

In I959, a "small controlled experiment" by Vancouver addictions treatment specialist Dr. Robert Halliday began to investigate the value of using methadone, a synthetic oral opioid in the management of short-term withdrawal from opiate addiction. Over the next couple of years, the focus of the program shifted. Halliday stressed that abstinence was not the primary goal of the program and by 1963 the program had defined the basic principles of methadone maintenance treatment. The Vancouver program was the first of its kind in the country, and likely for all of North America and the world.

Following the pioneering studies in New York and at the Addiction Research Foundation in Ontario in the early sixties, methadone maintenance became a major public health initiative to treat opioid addiction in both the USA and Canada. The Canadian Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, commonly referred to as the Le Dain Commission (1969-1973), better known for recommending the legalization of cannabis, also supported methadone maintenance treatment. By 1972 there were 23 approved methadone programs in Canada.

Source: Fischer, B. (2000). Journal of Public Health Policy 21, 187-210.

Drugs: Opium (morphine, heroin, opioids)
Regions: Canada, USA (United States of America)
Topics: Medicinal use of drugs