Methadone maintenance treatment may improve completion rates and delay opioid relapse for opioid dependent individuals under community corrections supervision
C. Brendan Clark, Peter S. Hendricks, Peter S. Lane, Lindsay Trent, Karen L. Cropsey
Volume 39, Issue 12, December 2014
Several studies have demonstrated the importance of agonist therapies such as methadone and buprenorphine for preventing relapse for individuals being released from jail or prison to the community. No studies have examined the impact of methadone for increasing the completion of community supervision requirements and preventing opioid relapse for individuals under community corrections supervision. This observational study compared the community corrections completion rate and opioid relapse rate of individuals receiving methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) to individuals who did not.
Of the 2931 individuals enrolled under criminal justice supervision in the community, Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (TASC), and who met criteria for opioid dependence, 329 (11%) individuals reported receiving MMT in the community.
The majority of participants were White (79.8%) and male (63.5%), with a mean age of 31.33 years (SD = 9.18), and were under supervision for 10.4 months (SD = 9.1). MMT participants were less likely to fail out of supervision compared to individuals not in MMT (39.0% vs. 52.9%, p < 0.001), and had a lower rate of relapse (32.9%) and longer time to relapse (average days = 89.7, SD = 158.9) compared to the relapse rate (55.9%) and time to relapse (average days = 60.5, SD = 117.9) of those not on MMT.
While the observational nature of this study prevents causal inferences, these results suggest that utilization of MMT in community corrections may increase the likelihood of completing supervision requirements and delay time to opioid relapse. Providing agonist therapies to opioid dependent individuals under supervision appears to be a critical strategy in this important population.