New Article by AHP’s Andrew Klein Defines Challenges with Opioid Medications when Serving Justice-Involved Populations

A recent article by Andrew Klein, Ph.D., published in Commonwealth Magazine, addresses the complex issues related to providing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to inmates who enter jail or prison already on opioid medications or who request them to prevent relapse after release. A recent court ruling in Massachusetts that required that Essex County jail provide an entering inmate with continued methadone treatment stirred attention nationwide, raising the question of whether more individuals facing jail time will demand MAT for opioid addiction.
 

The article dissects the challenges of providing best-practice MAT to incarcerated individuals pre- or post-sentencing and raises important questions surrounding decision-making, including whether there is access to the medication after an inmate is released. Other barriers prisons and jails must overcome are low retention rates after release, as well as diversion of opioid medications before release. Although these issues can be addressed, they are important points to consider when implementing correctional MAT programs.
 

Dr. Klein is a senior criminal justice research analyst at Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. (AHP). His areas of expertise include criminal justice, court administration, drug use, domestic violence, and victim services. AHP is a 30-year-old consulting company that influences change in health and business systems to support vulnerable populations—from creating policy all the way to ground-level, hands-on work. Its mission is to improve health and human services systems of care and business operations to help organizations and individuals reach their full potential.

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