It is estimated that as many as 20% of the estimated 900,000 heroin addicts in the US receive Methadone Maintenance Treatment. Methadone clinics are the primary source of such treatment providing patients with the methadone needed to curb cravings and reduce their risk of relapsing and using heroin again. Methadone clinics are controlled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as various Federal regulations that restrict the use and availability of the drug.
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Benefits of Methadone Clinics
Methadone clinics have a number of benefits over the patient using drugs or becoming incarcerated as a result of their drug use. Methadone maintenance treatment allows patients to be free of their addiction to heroin or other opiates and can do wonders in terms of reducing the plight of illegal activity, illicit behavior and the dangerous consequences that come with such behavior. Methadone maintenance treatment provided by methadone clinics has the following benefits:
- Methadone maintenance treatment costs taxpayers significantly less than incarceration. In fact, methadone maintenance treatment only costs about $15 per day compared to a cost of more than $80 per day per inmate for incarceration.
- Methadone maintenance treatment has a benefit to cost ration of 4:1. This means that for every dollar that is spent on methadone maintenance treatment, there is an economic benefit of four dollars.
- Methadone maintenance treatment significantly reduces the spread of infectious disease such as HIV, hepatitis B & C, and other sexually transmitted diseases. Because those who use heroin and other opiates are likely to use needles to inject the drugs intravenously, methadone maintenance treatment provided by methadone clinics can reduce the spread of disease by reducing the number of heroin users who are injecting drugs with one another.
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Overall, methadone maintenance treatment that is provided by qualified methadone clinics can help to reduce illegal activity amongst users too. In fact, a study conducted in the late 1990s showed that those who took part in a methadone maintenance treatment program were less likely to use heroin one year later and the majority had reduced heroin use to once per week or less. Illegal activity was also reduced for those who took part in outpatient methadone treatment at a methadone clinic.