Methadone Maintenance Therapy Decreases Arrests
Previous observational reports of methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) suggest that MMT reduces criminal activity. Treatment with methadone often includes medication and counseling; interim methadone (IM) provides medication alone in an effort to reduce costs. In this clinical trial, investigators randomized patients awaiting entry into a comprehensive MMT program to receive either IM (n=198) or to a waiting list (n=119). Interim methadone, providing no counseling, was offered for up to 120 days. After controlling for potential confounders, investigators compared retention in treatment among patients in both groups at 6 and 12 months.
- Patients assigned to IM had significantly fewer arrests at 6 months compared with waiting list patients (mean, 0.20 versus 0.34).
- There was no difference in arrest severity between groups at 6 or 12 months; however, there were significantly fewer arrests at 6 and 12 months among patients in continuous treatment compared with patients not in continuous treatment (mean, 0.14 versus 0.29 at 6 months and 0.18 versus 0.40 at 12 months, respectively).
- More patients in the IM group were retained in treatment compared with waiting list patients (65% versus 25%).