Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute

Jail-Based Intervention Increases Post-Release Initiation of Medication Treatment for OUD


People with opioid use disorder (OUD) are frequently incarcerated and, as a result, jails house many individuals with OUD.

OUD goes largely untreated during periods of incarceration. Additionally, the risk of relapse to opioid use, as well as opioid-induced overdose, is very high after release from incarceration, with former inmates having an approximately 10-fold higher overdose mortality rate compared to non-institutionalized people.

Finding a way to treat OUD in jails, and reduce the risk of return to use post-incarceration, is an important medical and ethical imperative.

In a study led by ADAI principal research scientist Caleb Banta-Green, a treatment decision making (TDM) intervention was piloted at 4 Washington state jails with inmates suspected of having OUD and who were approaching their release dates.

Findings showed that incarcerated people who received the intervention were significantly more likely to begin taking medication for OUD during the first month after their release from jail, but not in subsequent months.

Overall, 16% of people who received the intervention started treatment medications, compared to 8% of people in the comparison group who did not receive the intervention.

Given that the intervention was delivered only once to each individual, the impact on medication initiation is encouraging, but more robust interventions to increase uptake further need to be developed and tested.

Read more about this study here (UW School of Public Health).

Find the article: Banta-Green CJ, Williams JR, Sears JM, Floyd AS, Tsui JI, Hoeft TJ. Impact of a jail-based treatment decision-making intervention on post-release initiation of medications for opioid use disorder. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2020;207:107799. View abstract.