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Jail-Based Medication-Assisted Treatment Promising Practices, Guidelines, And Resources for The Field

Posted 1/28/2020 (updated 5/5/2020)

Over the past 40 years, sheriff s and jail administrators across the country have sought to improve the quality of health services provided to the individuals in their care. In the mid-1970s, 30 jails served as the pilot sites for the first health services standards for correctional= settings and an accompanying accreditation program. Today, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) continues to help jails address the most complex
problems in health services, including care for individuals suffering from mental illness and substance use disorder. In addition to its standards for jail health services, NCCHC also offers standards and accreditation specifically for opioid treatment programs.

As this publication makes clear, pharmacotherapy—i.e., medication-assisted treatment (MAT)—is widely held to be a cornerstone of best practice for recovery from substance abuse. Eff ective treatment, including MAT, particularly when coupled with evidence-based behavioral treatment, improves medical and mental health outcomes and reduces relapses and recidivism.

MAT provides a significant opportunity to help individuals with substance use disorder, especially those who participate in a community-based opioid treatment program (OTP). OTPs are licensed facilities that provide methadone and often other MATs for individuals diagnosed with an opioid-use disorder. Effective treatment for substance use disorder, including long-term MAT, has been shown to reduce drug use, overdose, and mortality. Fundamentally, it is key to halting the national epidemic of drug abuse, particularly opioid use disorder, and interrupting the costly cycle of recidivism resulting from this underlying disorder. We encourage sheriff s and our jail-based colleagues to take the lead in this effort.

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