Incarceration & Opioid Use Disorder

FDA-approved agonist-based medications are the best available treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD); however, few people who are incarcerated have access to these life saving medications. Luckily, this trend is changing as there are a growing number of jurisdictions offering medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) to incarcerated individuals.

Additionally, there is increasing evidence demonstrating and comparing the effectiveness of the three FDA-approved medications approved to treat OUD: methadone, buprenorphine, and extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX). Because these medications vary in terms of effectiveness, costs, routes of administration, formulations, required length of time of detoxification prior to initiation, and other factors, it is critical that all three types of medications are offered to people with OUD. Rhode Island was the first state in the U.S. to provide all three FDA-approved medications in its unified correctional system. This resulted in a 61% decrease in overdose deaths following incarceration within the first year of the program’s implementation.

In the News: MOUD and Corrections

Outgoing jail head urges MAT one last time. (2020, August 26). Damond Steer. The Conway Daily Sun.

Overdoses are on the rise. Is it time to provide medication assisted treatment in NC prisons? (2020, August 25). Hannah Critchfield. North Carolina Health News.

New law mandates medication assisted treatment in jails. (2020, August 5). New Hampshire Union Leader.

Family’s lawsuit details policies they say led to Whatcom County jail suicide. (2020, August 2). Denver Pratt. The Bellingham Herald.

Rockingham County jail to be second in nation with methadone clinic. (2020, April 24). Elizabeth Dinan. Seacost Online

Maine prisons will expand use of ‘gold standard’ treatment for inmates with opioid addiction. (2020, March 12).  Lauren Abbate. Bangor Daily News.

Maine Expands Treatment for Inmates With Opioid Addiction. (2020, March 12). U.S. News & World Reports.

Boone County Jail becomes first in state to administer suboxone for addiction treatment (2020, March 3). Kelly Reinke. Fox 59.

Prison agrees to provide addiction medications for inmates. (2020, March 3). Gloucester Times.

3 Men Will Continue To Receive Addiction Medication In Prison Under Settlement With ACLU. (2020, February 28). Walter Wuthmann. WBUR News.

This State Has Figured Out How to Treat Drug-Addicted Inmates. (2020, February 26). Christine Vestal. PEW Stateline.

For some opioid users in NC, jail doesn’t mean detox. (2020, February 25). Taylor Knopf. North Carolina Health News.

Opioid-replacement treatment available for Montgomery County prisoners. (2020, February 11). Jo Ciavaglia. Bucks County Courier Times.

County plans to offer inmates in San Antonio new treatment option to fight deadly opioid epidemic.(2020, February 11). Emilie Eaton. San Antonio Express-News.

County jails awarded government funding. (2020, February 10). The Tribune-Democrat.

Washington Tackles Opioid Use Disorder in its Jails.(2019, October 25). Casey Leins. US News.

The push to get addiction medication treatment into Maine jails is underway. (2019, July 4). Callie Ferguson. Bangor Daily News.

Setting Precedent, A Federal Court Rules Jail Must Give Inmate Addiction Treatment. (2019, May 4). Willis R. Arnold. NPR.

How the Smallest State is Defeating America’s Biggest Addiction Crisis. (2018, August 25). Erick Trickey. Politico Magazine.