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J Subst Abuse Treat. 1999 Jun;16(4):329-35.

Revisiting the effectiveness of methadone treatment on crime reductions in the 1990s.

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Department of Psychiatry, Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.


This study examines the relationship between methadone treatment and the criminal activity of 126 individuals participating in treatment during the early 1990s. The primary question addressed is to what extent is methadone maintenance treatment associated with reductions in crime? Although prior studies in the 1970s and early 1980s showed significant decreases in crime for individuals in treatment programs, criteria for remaining in this treatment modality have changed in recent years, particularly with the advent of acquired immune deficiency syndrome and the need to reduce intravenous drug use. A pre-post study design is employed spanning a 6-year time period of subject recruitment and follow-up (1987-1993). Uniform administrative records on arrests are used for the analyses. A multiple regression model is employed to explain the variance in the number of arrests 2 years following program admission, with prior criminal history, prior and current drug treatment, and current cocaine use employed as explanatory variables. Results indicate that treatment retention has only a slight, though significant, effect on reducing criminal activity during treatment. Two other factors that appear to increase arrest activity are the use of cocaine and prior criminal history. The fact that arrests did not decrease during a treatment period of 18 months on average requires more investigation in light of the increase in cocaine use in this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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