Baker-Polito Administration Awards $500,000 for Opioid Treatment and Recovery Support Services in Houses of Correction
Risk of overdose death is more than 50 times greater for former inmates than for general public
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced $500,000 in funding for five Houses of Correction to provide a wide range of pre- and post-release treatment and recovery services for incarcerated individuals with an opioid use disorder who are within two months of release.
“The deadly heroin and opioid epidemic can only be broken with a comprehensive effort from all levels of government focused on increasing access to treatment, prevention and recovery services,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Funding from the Department of Public Health will help provide important substance misuse treatment services to a rehabilitating population that we know is significantly more susceptible to the opioid epidemic upon their release.”
Major services supported by funding from the DPH Bureau of Substance Abuse Services will include:
- Access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) including buprenorphine and Extended Release Injectable Naltrexone
- Case management services to facilitate a successful transition from a correctional services environment back into the community
- Linkages to community-based treatment and recovery support services.
The new program, known as the Medication Assisted Treatment Re-Entry Initiative for Houses of Correction (MATRI-HOC), will establish these services at the Bristol County House of Correction, the Franklin County House of Correction, the Hampden County House of Correction, the Middlesex County House of Correction, and the Worcester County House of Correction.
“We’re proud to have increased substance misuse prevention and treatment investments by fifty percent, while passing landmark legislation to establish a first-in-the-nation seven-day limit on first-time opioid prescriptions since taking office,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is committed to reaching people who need access to treatment, social services, and recovery support services, wherever they may be in order to continue fighting this terrible epidemic.”
Data from the Baker-Polito Administration’s Chapter 55 Report indicate that incarcerated individuals with a history of opioid use disorder are at a 56 times higher risk of opioid overdose death following their release, as compared to the general public.
“Medication Assisted Treatment is a highly successful, evidence-based tool in helping people with substance use disorder to achieve and maintain sobriety,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “It makes sense to have this proven treatment option available at our Houses of Correction – especially given the higher risk of overdose death which incarcerated individuals face upon their release.”
MATRI-HOC program services will be available to inmates at the participating Houses of Correction who have a diagnosed opioid use disorder, and who are due to be released within 60 days. Each individual will receive a clinical assessment and will be assigned a case manager to develop a treatment/recovery plan, including Medication Assisted Treatment when appropriate. Case management, treatment and recovery support services will be available to each participant for up to a year following their release.
“Our strategy in fighting this epidemic is to direct resources efficiently and effectively,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “These grants are a good example of using information from the Administration’s unprecedented Chapter 55 report to strengthen our data-informed approach to prevent overdoses and save lives.”
Each of the five participating Houses of Correction will receive approximately $100,000 to support the MATRI-HOC program. The funding announced today is provided by the federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as part of a larger $11.7 million State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis (Opioid STR) grant.