Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Frank E. Hustmyer, Jr.


This study examined the completion and noncompletion of methadone detoxification of two groups of subjects enrolled in a heroin treatment program. Twenty-six subjects who had been addicted to heroin for a minimum of two years and were receiving methadone were randomly assigned to an experimental and control group. The experimental group was assigned a series of relaxation training sessions. Each subject, at the outset, was receiving 18-22 mg of methadone daily. Two counselors conducted the relaxation training which began at the 18-22 mg dosage level.

Completion of methadone detoxification was defined by the following criteria. (1) The subject ceased to ingest methadone after reaching a plateau of between 1-5 mg of methadone within 20 weeks of being at a dosage of 18-22 mg. (2) The subject did not use a narcotic during the last two weeks of detoxification and the first two weeks of absstinence as verified by urinalysis of three monitored urine specimens per week.

In the experimental group, nine subjects completed detoxification, four subjects did not. In the control group, two subjects completed detoxification and eleven did not. The study showed that a significant relationship existed between the experimental group receiving relaxation training and the completion of methadone detoxification.

The results of this study showed that relaxation training may help manage certain side effects of methadone detoxification and that relaxation training may raise the probability of an individual completing methadone detoxification.