By own experiences of working with addicts is that methadone programs do reduce crime and the cost to society. Those who I have known that use methadone properly instead of heroin (it is still drug use, though legal if dispensed through a methadone clinic), are no longer purse snatchers, shoplifters, not going to the hospital for overdoses or abscesses, etc. Some of them even get a job and would be considered productive citizens of society.
However, that does not mean there is no cost to society. Many methadone users are getting the methadone for free (paid by society). Many of the methadone users I know have never dealt with the addiction issue, so they are addicted to methadone. They are taking excessive doses of methadone (paid by you and me), have an addict mindset, and walking zombies. So, it may be better for society, but I am not convinced that methadone treatment is best for most individuals. Actually I do not even like the term treatment. They are treating addicts by using methadone. They are providing addicts a legal drug regardless if the person wants to be treated for addiction or not. Many times I believe methadone clinics are drug suppliers rather than rehabilitators. If they are truly trying to help a person, why is it that most clinics will allow people to go on such high doses of methadone that it makes it almost impossible for a person to quit methadone? I will share more on that topic at a later date.
I will say that there are people I know that are alive because of methadone. And if a person is alive, they are a person who has a chance to know Jesus as their Savior, and to become truly free from ALL addictions.
In another post I will share how I believe methadone could be used effectively in regards to drug treatment in instead of drug supplier.