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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Washington: New Jail-based Intervention Increases Uptake of Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder After Release

A new intervention developed by University of Washington researchers may help break the cycle of opioid use disorder among people transitioning from jail or prison back into the community, according to a new study. In the United States, opioid use disorder goes largely untreated during periods of incarceration, and opioid use often resumes after release.

The intervention – called the Treatment Decision Making intervention – was piloted at four Washington state jails with inmates suspected of having opioid use disorder and who were approaching their release dates. These individuals met with trained state corrections re-entry staff to discuss treatment options for opioid use disorder and to identify ways to access medication such as methadone, buprenorphine or long-acting naltrexone.

Findings showed that incarcerated people who received the intervention were significantly more likely to begin taking medication for opioid use disorder during the first month after their release from jail, but not in subsequent months. Overall, 16 percent of people who received the intervention started treatment medications compared to 8 percent of people in the comparison group who did not receive the intervention. The study was led by Dr. Caleb Banta-Green, principal research scientist at the UW’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute and affiliate associate professor of health services at the UW School of Public Health. Results were published online Dec. 11 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

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