This paper examines the effects on parole status and recidivism of naltrexone treatment on parolees suffering from opioid dependence.
Federal probationers or parolees with a history of opioid addiction were referred by themselves or their probation/parole officer for a naltrexone treatment study. Participation was voluntary and subjects could drop out of the study at any time without adverse consequences. Following orientation and informed consent, 51 volunteers were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to a six-month program of probation plus naltrexone and brief drug counseling, or probation plus counseling alone. Naltrexone subjects received medication and counseling twice a week; controls received counseling at similar intervals. All therapy and medications were administered in an office located adjacent to the federal probation department. Fifty-two percent of subjects in the naltrexone group continued for six months and 33 percent remained in the control group. Opioid use was significantly lower in the naltrexone group. The overall mean percentage of opioid positive urine tests among the naltrexone subjects was 8 percent, versus 30 percent for control subjects. Fifty-six percent of the controls and 26 percent of the naltrexone group had their probation status revoked within the six-month study period and returned to prison. The authors conclude that treatment with naltrexone and brief drug counseling can be integrated into the Federal Probation/Parole system with favorable results on both opioid use and re-arrest rates. Publisher Abstract Provided