Providing methadone maintenance to men in prison can pay off in better retention in community treatment and reduced drug abuse following their release. In a recent clinical trial, men who began methadone therapy and counseling in prison and continued that treatment in the community had significantly lower rates of opioid-positive and cocaine-positive urine samples 12 months after being released, compared with men who only received counseling and men who received counseling in prison and were scheduled to receive methadone maintenance upon release. As important as the lower rates of drug use, says researcher Dr. Timothy Kinlock of Friends Research Institute in Baltimore, was the methadone-maintenance group's longer retention in community-based treatment programs. The group assigned to begin methadone maintenance in prison stayed in community treatment an average of 166 days; the group scheduled to begin methadone maintenance upon release averaged 91 days. The men in the counseling-only group remained in community treatment for only 23 days.
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 37(3):277-285, 2009. [Abstract]