Avoiding Jail Time with Methadone Maintenance Treatment

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly 20% of all inmates currently incarcerated were arrested while committing a crime related to a drug habit. Opiate use by incarcerated individuals is also on the rise, leading to an epidemic of addiction and other diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV, from the sharing of needles and other paraphernalia. For this reason, incarceration is not always the best option for individuals committing drug-related crimes. If you are facing possible jail time because of an opiate addiction, you may be able to avoid it with an agreement that involves methadone maintenance treatment.

What is methadone maintenance treatment?

Methadone is an artificially created opiate, known as an opioid. Methadone maintenance treatment involves the daily administration of a dose of methadone that serves several purposes. These include:

  • a reduction of cravings,
  • close monitoring of the addict’s health, because of daily visits with healthcare professionals,
  • the reduction or elimination of withdrawal symptoms,
  • life-skills counseling, that is typically required as part of treatment, and
  • the eventual transition to a drug free lifestyle.

Why use methadone maintenance treatment?

There are a number of treatment options available to combat opiate addiction. The question, then, is why use methadone. There are a number of reasons, some of which are:

  • over 30 years of successful treatment of opiate addictions,
  • a lower cost than illegal drugs,
  • the ability to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as:

o nausea,


Methadone maintenance treatment is a more effective option than jail time.

o severe vomiting,

o severe diarrhea,

o extreme pain from cramps and muscle spasms,

o insomnia lasting as long as three weeks,

o hallucinations,

o cardiac problems,

o breathing problems, and

o possible death,

  • a reduction in dependency through stepped down doses, and
  • the fact that it allows a person to function normally while taking it properly.

Another benefit is that participation in a methadone treatment program may help you avoid jail time. That is, if the court decides that methadone maintenance treatment is the best option for you.

Why would a court decide on methadone maintenance treatment?

According to the National Institute of Justice, there are a number of factors that determine whether or not to incarcerate an addict, or seek treatment as an alternative. Some of these factors include:

  • positive drug screenings at the time of arrest,
  • whether or not the arresting offense was nonviolent (violent offenders are exempt from treatment alternatives),
  • the availability of treatment options in the arresting jurisdiction,
  • the availability of monitoring and supervision, and
  • whether or not drug treatment is an acceptable alternative to incarceration, as perceived by the prosecuting authority.

How does choosing this treatment help you avoid jail time?

It is well documented that serving time in jail doesn’t really help people addicted to opiates kick their habit. Also, jails and prisons are dangerously overcrowded due to the rising number of arrests for drug offenses. Another thing to consider is that people that have successfully recovered from addiction are less likely to commit crimes, and are often a resource for their communities. For this reason, many courts are letting nonviolent drug offenders avoid jail time if they choose to participate in a treatment program. This is how methadone maintenance treatment can help you avoid jail time.

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