The aims of this study were to compare the quality of life (QOL) between subjects with and without heroin use and to examine the association of QOL with sociodemographic characteristics, characteristics of heroin use, family support, and depression among heroin users at entry to a methadone maintenance treatment program. A group of 123 heroin users who visited an outpatient addiction treatment clinic in southern Taiwan for methadone maintenance treatment were recruited into this study. We also recruited 106 subjects who had never used heroin as the control group. Their QOL status was assessed by the short form of the Taiwan Version of the World Health Organization Questionnaire on Quality of Life (the WHOQOL-BREF Taiwan version). The level of QOL between subjects with and without heroin use was compared, and the correlates of QOL among heroin users were examined. Heroin users had poorer QOL than nonusers in the physical, psychological, and social relationship domains but not the environment domain of the WHOQOL-BREF after controlling for the influences of other factors. In addition, heroin users with obvious depression had poorer QOL in all four domains than those without obvious depression. Also, heroin users who perceived higher family support had better QOL in the social relationship and environment domains. Heroin users had poorer QOL than nonusers in multiple domains. Relief of depressive symptoms and enhancement of family support should be important strategies to improve QOL in heroin users.
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