Considerations for People Who Are Incarcerated When Implementing MOUD Programs
Opioid use disorder (OUD) is highly prevalent among people who are incarcerated, but medication use
to treat OUD within criminal justice settings (including drug courts, jails, and prisons) is very
low. Because OUD is less likely to be treated during incarceration, resulting in a period of
abstinence, fatal overdose from resumed opioid use after release is common.
People who are incarcerated and
receive medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) prior to release are more likely to engage in
treatment after release, engage in treatment sooner, and stay in treatment longer, and they are less
likely to test positive for illicit opioids, return to use, or overdose.
multiple approaches to delivering MOUD to people who are incarcerated. Each approach has
different considerations for implementation, including staffing, transportation, and licensing. For
example, programs may choose to administer medication offsite, by transporting patients to other
settings where a licensed medical provider delivers services. Alternatively, programs may administer
medication onsite, wherein the licensed provider delivers services within the correctional setting.
Another approach involves the correctional facility itself obtaining the necessary licenses for
Rural MOUD programs may decide to partner with criminal justice settings to facilitate MOUD
treatment for people who are incarcerated. For example, the Penobscot Community Health Center
rural medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program partners with a reentry center to assess people who
have been incarcerated for OUD. The McKenzie Substance
Abuse Recovery Program works with the
county jail in their service area to ensure people with OUD who are released from jail can join the
MAT program directly, to avoid lapse in treatment services.
Resources to Learn More
Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Jails and Prisons: A Planning and Implementation Toolkit
Provides information, examples, tool, and resources that organizations can use to plan and implement
a MAT program within jails and prisons.
Author(s): Mace, S., Siegler, A. Wu, K., Latimore, A., & Flynn, H.T.
Organization(s): National Council for Behavioral Health
of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Criminal Justice Settings
An evidence-based resource guide to support healthcare providers and healthcare organizations when
developing policies and practices on the use of MAT for individuals at risk, experiencing, or
recovering from SUD in criminal justice settings.
Organization(s): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)