Rising to the Challenge: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) in Correctional Settings

Communities across the country have been impacted by opioid misuse and related overdoses over the last three decades. Despite the recognition of opioid use disorder (OUD) as a chronic illness and a growing body of research supporting the effectiveness of medications for treating it, medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) remains highly underutilized. Individuals with criminal justice involvement are especially vulnerable to the risks associated with OUD, making it all the more impactful for justice system professionals to support and advocate for MOUD in correctional settings. Though an abundance of evidence supports MOUD as the most effective treatment for OUD, a number of barriers exist to implementing it. Misinformation, policies that directly or indirectly restrict treatment options, and limited community treatment capacity are just a few of the challenges commonly faced by those seeking to implement treatment programs in criminal justice settings.

System stakeholders need support to overcome these barriers and bridge research to practice. To that end, JSP is partnering with Brown University School of Public Health through the SAMHSA-funded Opioid Response Network (ORN) to develop a suite of resources and practical tools for implementing MOUD in criminal justice settings, beginning with the virtual convening Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) in Correctional Settings: Moving to Implementation on January 26th-28th. The event is meant for anyone interested in learning more about MOUD, including facility administrators, security supervisors, probation and parole officials, and other corrections staff as well as medical administrators and community-based behavioral health providers. The virtual convening spans three days and includes a series of workshops featuring the voices of subject matter experts and those with lived experience. Interactive break-out sessions offer participants opportunities to work closely with peers and technical assistance providers to develop action-oriented work plans for implementing MOUD across their systems. Register here while space is still available.

More than 250 participants will walk away from the virtual convening with practical solutions for bringing MOUD to their communities. Moreover, the convening will provide opportunities for participants to connect with ongoing support and resources. Dr. Rosemarie Martin, Associate Professor at Brown School of Public Health and Director for New England ORN provided this perspective on the convening:

“Many state and local jurisdictions know about the benefits of MOUD, but certain barriers prevent them from implementing it in correctional settings though this population stands to significantly benefit from increased access to MOUD. The convening focuses on reducing or eliminating these barriers so that participants can bring evidence-based practice to their communities and those they work with every day.”

Our communities stand to benefit from increasing access to medication for those with opioid use disorder, so we hope you’ll consider attending. If you have questions please contact: Christina Sansone at 312.375.0522 or christina@justicesystempartners.org.