The influence of programme differences on crime reduction in opioid maintenance treatment. An analysis of regional patterns in Norway
Design: Official national criminal records were cross linked with all patients who started opioid maintenance treatment in Norway from 1997-2003 (n=3221), including patients from four different health regions in Norway; the Eastern region (n=1717), the Southern region (n=751), the Western region (n=586) and the Central-Northern region (n=167). Patients in each region were divided into separate groups according to whether they were retained or not retained in continuous treatment.
Findings: During opioid maintenance treatment, patients in all four treatment regions had a considerable reduction in criminal convictions compared to pre-treatment levels. Criminal convictions during treatment were associated with retention in treatment. Among patients in continuous treatment, significant differences were found in levels of criminal convictions among the four treatment regions during treatment. Compared to patients in the Eastern region, patients in the Southern and the Central-Northern region had respectively 44 and 81 percent less criminal convictions during treatment, and patients in the Western region had 60 percent more convictions. For patients not in continuous treatment, no statistically significant differences were found between the four regions during treatment.
Conclusions: Differences in criminal convictions during treatment may be related to regional differences in treatment practice within the national OMT system. In all regions, criminal convictions during OMT were higher for patients dropping out of treatment. It is suggested that clinical staff should offer more support to patients at risk of dropping out of treatment.Background: Reduced criminal activity is an important outcome for opioid maintenance treatment (OMT).
How to Cite
Norsk Epidemiologi licenses all content of the journal under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence. This means, among other things, that anyone is free to copy and distribute the content, as long as they give proper credit to the author(s) and the journal. For further information, see Creative Commons website for human readable or lawyer readable versions.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).