British Journal of Criminology Volume: 45 Issue: 2 Dated: March 2005 Pages: 201-211
This Australian study examined the effectiveness of methadone maintenance treatment in preventing crime.
The study involved a sample of 8,154 heroin users enrolled in the New South Wales methadone program at least once between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2000. Offending rates were measured through court-appearance records that pertained to offenses alleged to have occurred during periods in and out of methadone treatment. Appropriate adjustments were made for any time spent in custody. In order to control for the differential effects on crime of age and gender, separate analyses were conducted for men and women and for different age groups. The study findings add to the weight of existing evidence that suggests methadone maintenance treatment is an effective means of reducing heroin-related crime. Although the differences in the rate at which people were charged with criminal offenses during periods in and out of methadone treatment were not spectacular, they were significant; and when the difference in charge rates were scaled to obtain estimates of savings due to crime, the impact was substantial. 5 tables, 3 figures, and 11 references