CODAC Behavioral Healthcare to Expand Addiction Treatment for Prisoners to Massachusetts

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Hampden County Sheriff’s Department Contracts with CODAC to Initiate Medication-Assisted Treatment for Inmates, Part of Statewide Pilot Program; CODAC’s Nationally Recognized Work in Rhode Island Sets Model for Care

...We are excited to be working with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department on this important step in advancing the message that addiction is a disease just like diabetes or cancer and evidence-based therapeutic approaches such as MAT should be available to all patients.

CODAC Behavioral Healthcare, the largest non-profit, outpatient provider for opioid treatment in Rhode Island, today announced the expansion of its services to treat addiction during incarceration to Hampden County, MA. CODAC, which worked with the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) in launching the nation’s first program to screen all inmates for opioid use disorder (OUD) and provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for those in need, has been selected by the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department to implement a similar program in Hampden County, MA at each of its correctional facilities. The program began on September 1.

Nearly two-thirds of incarcerated people suffer from substance use disorders and, compared to the rest of the adult population, the opioid-related overdose death rate is 120 times higher for persons released from prisons and jails. The consensus best-practice approach for opioid-addiction treatment is MAT, and recent legislation in Massachusetts and other states has called for an increase in access to addiction medications for prisoners with a demonstrated need to help ease withdrawal symptoms and lower the risk of relapse when released.    

CODAC’s nationally praised MAT program with RIDOC was associated with a 61 percent decrease in post-incarceration deaths and contributed to an overall drop in overdose deaths statewide in RI, as reported by a Brown University study and published in JAMA Psychiatry. CODAC is now also licensed as an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) provider in Massachusetts.

“In the midst of our nation’s opioid epidemic, we are excited to be working with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department on this important step in advancing the message that addiction is a disease just like diabetes or cancer and evidence-based therapeutic approaches such as MAT should be available to all patients,” said Linda Hurley, President/CEO of CODAC. “What we have accomplished in RIDOC has proven beneficial to the entire state. It’s scalable and feasible elsewhere, and we are always willing to help other states implement similar programs.”

In Hampden County, opioid overdose deaths increased 84 percent from 2017 to 2018, even as the rate of deaths declined in much of the rest of the state. The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department MAT initiative is part of a statewide pilot program established in 2018 by the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association to provide MAT at five county correctional facilities in the Commonwealth: Middlesex, Franklin, Norfolk, Hampden and Hampshire. (Essex and Suffolk counties later asked to join the program.)

“Medication Assisted Treatment, along with the appropriate group and one on one counseling, is one more tool in our addiction recovery tool box we are now providing inmates,” said Hampden Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi. “There has been a great sense of relief among the people who come to us knowing they will be able to continue their treatment thanks to our staff and the medical professionals working with us on behalf of CODAC Behavioral Healthcare. Medication Assisted Treatment just makes sense and providing it is the right thing to do.”

The MAT program to be administered by CODAC to inmates at Hampden County correctional facilities will mirror the RIDOC program in offering counseling and behavioral therapies along with access to all three FDA-approved addiction medications: methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. Clinical criteria and inmate preference will be used to tailor the best treatment to each patient’s individual needs. CODAC will operate a dispensary inside the Hampden County House of Correction to provide real-time MAT services, seven days per week.

The program will allow for continuation of MAT, new inductions and pre-release access. For those inmates who enter with an active MAT prescription, once a medication is confirmed, they will be allowed to continue their treatment regimen while incarcerated. Those inmates committed who report opioid use, past or present, will be assessed for eligibility and started on MAT, as appropriate. In addition, inmates who are currently sentenced, and not on medication, may be eligible to be started on MAT prior to release (this population typically includes inmates who were committed prior to the program starting, were not offered treatment/were withdrawn from their MAT treatment, and request to be stabilized on a medication prior to release).

Upon release, former inmates will return to their communities with a coordinated post-release plan to ensure continuity of care and assist in re-entry. Further, data collected from the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department’s MAT Initiative will be given to public agencies to help establish best practices that can be used in the state for serving this vulnerable population.

About CODAC Behavioral Healthcare
CODAC Behavioral Healthcare, a non-profit organization founded in 1971, is Rhode Island’s oldest and largest provider of outpatient services for opioid use disorder, other substance use disorders, and concurrent behavioral health challenges. With eight locations across Rhode Island, CODAC has attained Center of Excellence designations for each of its treatment sites. CODAC has done extensive work with individuals involved in the criminal justice system since 1994 and, in 2016, launched a program with the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) that was the first of its kind in the United States to screen all inmates for opioid use disorder and provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for those in need. Results from CODAC’s RIDOC program have been studied and published, and the program has been recognized as “a model for all 50 states” by the Department of Justice, SAMHSA and multiple other national agencies. In addition, CODAC is now licensed in Massachusetts to operate an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP). For more information about CODAC, visit: http://www.codacinc.org

Contact:
Alisha Bourdeau,CFO; CODAC
(401) 275-5038
abourdeau(at)codacinc.org

Bill Gordon; PR/Media Relations
646-924-6146
billgordon37(at)hotmail.com

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Bill Gordon
Bill Gordon PR/Media
+1 646-924-6146
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Alisha Bourdeau
CODAC Behavioral Healthcare
(401) 275-5038
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