Treating Addicts in Jail Reduces Overdoses After Release

A pilot program in Rhode Island that treats opioid-addicted inmates with medication is showing early success in reducing overdose deaths in the year after the inmates are released.

The inmates are treated with methadone, naltrexone and/or buprenorphine.

In the year before the program started, recently released inmates accounted for 14.5 percent of overdose deaths in the state. After the program began, that number dropped to 5.7 percent (and there were significantly fewer overdose deaths overall).

Recently released inmates are at a very high risk for overdose, other studies have shown, because their tolerance drops while they are incarcerated, and there is a risk that their body won’t be able to handle the same doses they used before being locked up.

The state has budgeted $2 million per year for the program, which includes helping released inmates get insurance and transition to outside treatment providers.

Source: StatNews. Click here for more information.