Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) in Corrections
Over the past several years, the United States has been in the grip of an escalating overdose epidemic, with 67,367 drug overdose deaths occurring in 2018 alone.
Incarcerated individuals and persons recently released from jails and prisons are at an increased risk. A study conducted at the Washington State Department of Prisons found that formerly incarcerated individuals were more than 12 times more likely to die in the two weeks following release from prison, compared to the general population, mostly due to drug overdose.
The World Health Organization (WHO), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), and others have endorsed the effectiveness of MOUD and have urged correctional systems to provide adults in custody with these evidence-based treatments1. However, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that less than five percent of justice-involved individuals in need of opioid treatment were given the option of medications for opioid use disorders (MOUD).
In response to the opioid epidemic and technical assistance requests from the field, the Opioid Response Network (ORN) hosted two national summits for federal and state correctional departments, county jails, and local municipalities interested in implementing MOUD.
The first, Medications for Opioid Use Disorders in Correctional Settings Shifting the Paradigm: Creating a Balanced Correctional and Rehabilitative Approach, was held in January of 2020. The summit highlighted the Rhode Island Department of Corrections’ model (one of the first to incorporate MOUD system-wide), as well as other evidence-based delivery models from correctional systems around the country. Please see the MOUD in Corrections Summit Report for details of the proceedings.
A year later in January of 2021, a second national convening was held: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder: Moving to Implementation built upon the 2020 summit. A full conference summary and resources will be forthcoming.
This page contains resources aimed to assist those looking to implement MOUD programs in correctional systems.