Superior methadone treatment outcome in Hmong compared with non-Hmong patients

Gavin Bart, Qi Wang, James S. Hodges, Chris Nolan, Gregory Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The Hmong are a distinct ethnic group from Laos. Little is known about how opiate-addicted Hmong respond to methadone maintenance treatment. Therefore, opium-addicted Hmong (exclusive route of administration: smoking) attending an urban methadone maintenance program in Minneapolis, MN, were matched by gender and date of admission with predominately heroin-addicted non-Hmong (predominant route of administration: injection) attending the same program, and both groups were evaluated for 1-year treatment retention, stabilization dose of methadone, and urine drug screen results. Hmong had greater 1-year treatment retention (79.8%) than non-Hmong (63.5%; p < 01). In both groups, methadone dose was significantly associated with retention (p = 005). However, Hmong required lower doses of methadone for stabilization (M = 49.0 vs. 77.1 mg; p < 0001). For both groups, positive urine drug screens were associated with stopping treatment. Further research to determine levels of tolerance and psychosocial and pharmacogenetic factors contributing to differences in methadone treatment outcome and dosing in Hmong may provide further insight into opiate addiction and its treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-275
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Dr. Ross Crosby for the statistical evaluation of an earlier version of this data. The authors also thank Chomchanh Soudaly, Shoua Thao, Kong Sue Xiong, Mao Xiong, and Wesley Yang for their assistance in collecting data. This work was supported by a National Institutes of Health–National Institute on Drug Abuse career development award K23 DA024663.


  • Ethnicity
  • Hmong
  • Methadone
  • Opiate dependence
  • Treatment outcome


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