In what could be a model for tackling one of the nation's largest public health crises, an Amherst University of Massachusetts epidemiologist researcher works with the two sheriff offices of Western Massachusetts to design, implement and study an opioid treatment program for prisoners of prison in Franklin and Hampshire Counties.
After finishing a $ 1.5 million grant from the Federal Crime Prevention and Federal Mental Health Services, the three-year project aims to provide medicines to around 500 victims agreeing to treatment, and & # 39 ; liaise with follow-up care through a comprehensive community reintroduction program after release.
Elizabeth Evans, an assistant teacher at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences and one of the grant recipients, will collect data from all stakeholders to measure the results of the project . "The idea is to distill the lessons learned to a playbook or guide that can be used in prisons in Massachusetts and across the nation," said Evans.
The opioid crisis has grown so seriously that Americans are now more likely to die from an unintentional opioid oversight than in a vehicle accident or any other accident, according to the National Security Council.
Opioid Dependence "is a 21st century public health issue," said Evans, and the project reflects a change in the approach to tackling the crisis. "Evidence supports the use of medicines to treat an opioid use disorder. This model identifies the syriff's willingness to provide care to reduce resumption and to save people's lives," he said.
Evans will help Sheriff County Franklin, Christopher Donelan, Assistant Superintendent Ed Hayes and their staff expand and formalize the innovative opioid treatment and began to offer conferences in 2015 in the county prison in Greenfield. She will also work with Hampshire Sheriff Hampshire Hampshire Patrick Cahillane, Assistant Superintendent Melinda Cady and her staff to operate the same program at the Northampton prison.
The location of rural counties along Interstate 91 lets residents are particularly open to the effects of opioid trading. For many prisoners' prisoners, this is the first opportunity for them to have evidence based care about their disorder, says Evans. "This is a health condition," he said. "And this is a very fragile population."
Each prisoner has a medical director who assesses the need for treatment, prescribes the medication and monitors the person who is Acceptance that is accepted. About 40 per cent of prisoners in both prisons report that they have an opioid problem, says Evans, and the majority are willing to receive treatment, which can take as little as four days after arrest.
Treatment medications include Suboxone, which includes buprenorphine and naloxone to help alleviate sewage and severe symptoms of flu associated with withdrawal; and Vivitrol, an opiate block given as a injection for about a month. Prison authorities also seek DEA approval to offer methadone, synthetic opioid that is often used to treat opioid use disorder.
"People who are trying to pull back develop a fear have never proved that again," said Evans, who helps to explain the circle of dependency and high risk of an overdue for prisoners following their release from prison.
According to the Massachusetts Public Health Department 2018 report, the opioid overdose death rate is 120 times higher for prisoners recently released than for other adults. And the first month after its release is an essential time.
"We recognize that the period after release of the prison is a high risk period for overdose and death of opioids," said Evans. "The tolerance changes of the prisoners or their bodies can not resist the same amount of substances as they could imprison them in advance. They often return to use at the same level, which comes a deadly dose for them. "
That's why contacting people with medication providers and social services after their release from prison is an essential part of the program, says Evans.
The counties of Franklin and Hampshire are among the Commonwealth seven in a pilot program enforced by the Massachusetts Legislature to start offering medication for prisoners with opioid use disorder by September. Evans says that the data collected from the three-year project in the Franklin and Hampshire counties could inform the Commonwealth passive plan for opioid prison treatment.
"The prisoners used to be involved in public safety," said Evans. "Now they are taking on the public health role. This has potential benefits to the people who have been imprisoned and for us as a society."