Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) Executive Director Allie Hunter and Co-Founder John Rosenthal are pleased to share that multiple Massachusetts state prisons have begun providing medication assisted treatment to inmates battling substance use disorders.
On Monday, April 1 MCI Framingham, South Middlesex Correctional Center, MCI Cedar Junction, and the Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center began treating new inmates with buprenorphine, an addiction treatment medication. It’s the first phase of a new program that will eventually also offer inmates other effective medication assisted treatment such as methadone and naltrexone.
“This program is a significant milestone in the use of medication assisted treatment for the chronic disease of addiction,” Rosenthal said. “This program is an important start in treating people who are incarcerated and at a much higher risk of overdose when they’re released than the general population. There is strong evidence that medication is very effective in treating addiction, as it is with many chronic diseases.”
P.A.A.R.I., a national nonprofit organization including more than 460 police departments in 33 states, advocated on behalf of the landmark legislation that spurred the new program, which was passed last year, and will hopefully serve as a foundation that all Massachusetts correctional facilities and other states will adopt and build upon.
“Medications including methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are the gold standard in the treatment of opioid use disorders and this program is a significant milestone in the treatment of addiction,” Hunter said. “Addiction affects people of all backgrounds, and we applaud the efforts and leadership of sheriffs and law enforcement leaders who are developing and rolling out programs like this that will increase access to lifesaving treatment.”
“Massachusetts took a huge step this week that will ultimately save lives and get those struggling the help they need,” she added. “This program will set the tone regionally and nationally as we continue to explore the new and innovative ways to meet those struggling with a substance use disorder where they are and connect them with lifesaving resources. We look forward to continuing to serve as a resource to our law enforcement partners as they work to increase access to treatment, both within and beyond their walls.”
The Boston Globe published an article on Wednesday, April 2 regarding the new treatment programming in state prisons that can be read by visiting www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/04/02/mass-prisons-start-offering-medication-treat-addiction/o0Fslv3clpO9Ne0PUiO77N/story.html