Opioid Treatment for Correctional Facilities

BayMark’s Correctional Recovery Services team partners with corrections facilities throughout the country to provide turn-key medication-assisted treatment (MAT) solutions for opioid addiction, also referred to as opioid use disorder (OUD). For many individuals in correctional facilities, these programs are their best opportunity to receive treatment. 

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Source: SAMHSA.gov

Without MAT, prisoners and jail inmates are between 10 to 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than the general population, especially within the first few weeks after their release.

17 percent of prison inmates and 19 percent of jail inmates self-report regularly using opioids.

Approximately 40 to 50 percent of incarcerated individuals with an OUD are arrested for a new crime within the first year of being released.


Minimizing Risk & Liability

Recently, lawsuits citing the lack of access to MAT have been heard in Federal courts in
multiple states. In many of these cases, judges have agreed that the plaintiff’s 8th Amendment Constitutional rights, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act, have likely been violated.

The basis for their opinions include:

  • Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), commonly referred to as opioid addiction, is a chronic, life-threatening disorder for which prescribed medication is medically necessary.
  • Inmates should have access to all three FDA-approved medications for OUD.
  • Vivitrol does not provide withdrawal relief and is not interchangeable with methadone or buprenorphine.
  • Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm through painful withdrawal and possible relapse or death if forced off MAT.
  • There is a greater burden on plaintiffs if they are denied MAT than on the jails to provide it.

Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

While there are many paths to recovery, MAT treatment has been carefully studied and is widely accepted as the standard of care for opioid addiction. MAT uses FDA-approved medications in combination with counseling and behavior therapies to treat substance use disorders.

Each of the three medications that have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of OUD have different benefits to individuals depending on their health and drug use histories with methadone having the longest and most well-documented history of success.

The medication physically stabilizes the patient, allowing for the causes, consequences and patterns of addiction to be addressed and healthy coping mechanisms to be learned.

Incarcerated individuals who receive treatment while detained have the best outcomes when that treatment is continued post-release.

“Now we are at the point where the implementation of evidence-based treatment principles is called for within the criminal justice system to improve public health and public safety by reducing both drug use and crime.”
– Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse

✓ Case management services and pre-release transition planning

✓ Warm handoff or referral to a community-based MAT provider

✓ Referral to healthcare providers for mental health or specialty needs

✓ Referral to resources for housing, employment, legal guidance, and other services

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in Correctional Facilities

The growing opioid issue inside America’s criminal justice system has sparked action from the American Correctional Association, The National Sheriff’s Association, The National Commission on Correctional Health Care and other entities looking to change their approach.

Benefits of Offering Medication-Assisted Treatment

Reduce recidivism rates

Prevent post-release overdose deaths

Provide support for community re-entry

  • Offenders referred out for additional support are more likely to successfully re-engage in their communities
  • Increase public safety as both drug-related and violent crime rates are reduced

Improve individual and public health

  • Those receiving treatment are less likely to contract or spread diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis C
  • MAT provides an opportunity for patients to address other behavioral and medical health issues previously untreated

Improved correctional environments and operations

  • Minimize inmate healthcare costs
  • Medical legal risk is reduced for the facility, minimizing exposure to litigation and fines
  • Strengthen relationships between the criminal justice community relations and community-based treatment providers and human resource organizations

Partnering with BayMark Health Services

Our team works closely with our correctional partners to provide life-saving treatment to the underserved inmate population. We provide turn-key solutions through a variety of clinical models customized to meet the needs of each facility. For those interested in implementing an MAT program, BayMark experts can help navigate the complex regulatory system and work to develop the program that is right for those facilities and their population.

Doctor with stethoscope in hand on hospital background

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