The Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association has announced the establishment of a statewide pilot program to provide inmates with substance abuse disorder medication-assisted treatment (MAT) at five Massachusetts prisons.
According to Hampden County Sheriff Spokesperson John Evon, pending the approval of the governor, the program will be implemented at the county correctional facilities in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, Middlesex, and Norfolk counties in September 2019.
Evon said the goal of the pilot program is to foster innovation in corrections in an effort to increase public safety, improve public health, and save lives.
22News spoke to someone who just lost a loved one to an overdose, right after the person was released from jail.
“You know, more lives are being taken by this drug and it’s really sad for friends and family,” said Cataoina Davis.
The pilot is part of a larger legislative package addressing the state’s opioid crisis and will be for those who have been clinically diagnosed with a substance use disorder
The program will continue treatment throughout incarceration for those with a MAT prescription verified by a doctor unless a qualified addition specialist determines otherwise.
The program will also be made available for sentenced inmates 30 days prior to their release if a qualified addiction specialist deems it to be medically appropriate.
Those who participate in the program will also be released with a coordinated post-release health plan to ensure the continuity of care for each inmate.
In addition to administering medication during incarceration, the sheriff’s offices will also provide treatment staff and continuity of care after inmates are released to help those in recovery.