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States Explore Funding for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in Prisons

To tackle opioid use disorder (OUD) in their communities, state policymakers are interested in expanding access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) during and after incarceration, according to a discussion with members of the Council for State Governments.

Individuals in the criminal justice system have a high prevalence of substance use disorder (SUD), including OUD. From 2007 to 2009, approximately 58 percent of state prisoners and 63 percent of sentenced jail inmates met SUD criteria.

The discussion focused on financing for MAT and how states have leveraged Medicaid funding to increase access to treatment.

Incarcerated people with OUD have limited access to MAT and an increased risk of fatal drug overdose compared to the general public. Improving MAT access during incarceration can help prevent overdoses and deaths after release.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Kelcie Jimenez is a state policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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