Fundamentally, detoxification treatment aims to stop substance use behavior among the opioid addicts, while maintenance treatment aims to promote a healthier addiction behavior among the subjects by providing safer chemical substitutes. In this study, we evaluated the differences of social-demographics and clinical features between heroin addicts enrolled in detoxification and maintenance treatment. Data of 748 heroin addicts admitted for maintenance treatment or detoxification treatment between January 2004 and October 2007 were retrieved. Statistical analyses showed that older mean age, school dropout, drug offence, property offence, HCV and HIV infections, and older age of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine co-use, were significantly associated with maintenance treatment. Only a small number of patients chose detoxification treatment to treat their problems. The preference of maintenance treatment rather than detoxification treatment can be partially explained by financial concerns, either because the maintenance treatment is free or cheaper. Overall speaking, patients in detoxification treatment were relatively healthier in the aspects of social-demographics and clinical features compared to patients in maintenance treatment. Finding of this study should be concerned when designing treatment profiles, modifying of original treatment profiles or identifying target problems of a treatment profile.
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