The effect of methadone maintenance on criminal behavior remains ambiguous, in part because of major methodological problems with most studies. We attempted to approach the problem more precisely than previous studies by comparing official police arrest records of 100 heroin addicts for 1 year before admission with those for 1 year after admission. The total number of criminal charges decreased from 189 before admission to 129 after admission. Excluding vagrancy, because of a change in police arrest practice, we found only a 14% reduction in criminal charges. A statistically significant decrease of 40% occurred in one category, burglary and theft. Arrest frequencies were generally correlated with other outcome measures such as employment status and continuation in methadone treatment. The results suggest a modest reduction in criminal behavior as a result of methadone maintenance, with insignificant reduction in crime not directly related to narcotic addiction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health