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Pharmacological interventions
Improving methadone maintenance therapy for prisoner populations
  1. Nat Wright1,
  2. Philippa Hearty2
  1. 1Spectrum Community Interest Company, Wakefield, UK
  2. 2University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nat Wright, natwright{at}

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ABSTRACT FROM: Rich JD, McKenzie M, Larney S, et al. Methadone continuation versus forced withdrawal on incarceration in a combined US prison and jail: a randomised, open-label trial. Lancet 2015;386:350–9.

What is already known on this topic

Methadone maintenance is effective at reducing the harmful behaviours associated with illicit opioid use.1 The weight of evidence from intervention and observational studies highlights that being prescribed methadone maintenance leads to a reduction in mortality, heroin use, injecting and criminal activity.1 ,2 However, exposure to methadone maintenance is inversely related to a user's chances of achieving long-term cessation and therefore long-term prescribing remains contentious.2 Methadone programmes can be implemented safely in prison settings, yet internationally there are significant political and cultural barriers to maintaining drug users on methadone therapy following reception into prison.3

Methods of the study

This was a randomised open label controlled trial. The study participants were male and female prisoners of Rhode Island Department …

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  • Competing interests None declared.