Rhode Island Opioid Addiction Treatment Goes to Jail

The Rhode Island Department of Corrections has recently expanded its medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program, becoming the first state system to offer such a wide range of therapies for opioid addiction to its entire prison population.  MAT consists of three therapies: methadone and buprenorphine, which are opioids that help stave off withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings, and naltrexone, an antagonist. At least one-half of all prisoners have some form of substance abuse disorder, according to research, yet few facilities provide any addiction treatment, and prisoners ultimately return to the same environments that encouraged their addiction in the first place.  Researchers studying Rhode Island inmates have discovered that prisoners who take methadone before their release are more likely to continue their treatment.