Methadone Maintenence Treatment (MMT)

Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) for Opioid Dependence

Across Nova Scotia demand is growing for access to methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) for the management of opioid dependence. In response, more physicians are now providing this therapy, either through specialized clinics or integrated with the practice of family medicine. 

In 2013 the College, with funding from the provincial government and in consultation with local experts, developed the Methadone Maintenance Support Program (MMSP). Through the MMSP, prescriber practices were assessed every three years against the standards and guidelines contained in the College’s Methadone Maintenance Treatment Handbook. Practice assessments provided feedback and support to MMT prescribers, thereby promoting high practice standards and patient safety.

MMT prescribers were required to participate in the MMSP in order to gain the College’s endorsement for a Health Canada prescribing exemption for opioid dependence.

From the program's inception in 2013, the number of provincial MMT prescribers has grown from approximately fifty to more than eighty.

MMSP Closes

Funding responsibility for the MMSP has recently been transferred from the Department of Health and Wellness (DHW) to the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA). The NSHA has indicated to the College that it does not intend to fund the MMSP and will instead direct their resources toward other initiatives. Lacking the necessary funds, the MMSP will close effective immediately.

The College wishes to thank partners and participants of the program for their contributions to the MMSP. Moving forward, the College is considering how elements of the MMSP may be incorporated into its new Physician Peer Review program.

Prescribing Physicians

Physicians prescribing or wishing to prescribe methadone are still required to obtain the College's endorsement of their Health Canada exemption. Prescribing requirements are outlined in Section 2.1 of the College's Methadone Maintenance Treatment Handbook.

MMT prescribers must be in good standing with the College and are expected to adhere to the standards and guidelines set out in the College's Methadone Maintenance Treatment Handbook.