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Methadone maintenance in prison results in treatment retention, lower drug usage following release

Science Spotlight

May 29, 2015

Treatment is the KeyTreatment is the Key

A new NIDA-funded study shows that, among people incarcerated for six months or less, those who received continued methadone maintenance while imprisoned were more likely to obtain follow up drug treatment  than those who underwent detoxification from methadone while in jail. The findings show that one month after release, participants who continued to receive doses of methadone while incarcerated were more than twice as likely to obtain treatment at a community methadone clinic after their release, compared to those who went through tapered methadone withdrawal. In addition, in the month following their release, opioid use was lower among the methadone maintenance patients (8 percent), versus the tapered withdrawal group (18 percent). Because of the high risk of relapse and fatal overdose that often occurs among inmates following release from prison, the study results emphasize the importance of connecting this population to follow-up treatment and retention.

To view the abstract of the article published in The Lancet, go to: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)62338-2/abstract. To learn more about criminal justice and drug abuse, go to www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/criminal-justice-drug-abuse.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245.

NIDA Press Office

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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    NIDA. (2015, May 29). Methadone maintenance in prison results in treatment retention, lower drug usage following release. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2015/05/methadone-maintenance-in-prison-results-in-treatment-retention-lower-drug-usage-following-release

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