MAT for Opioid Addiction in the Criminal Justice System

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Dear Friends and Advocates,

I am providing a link to an important letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, dated April 10, 2014, which was signed by sixteen US Senators. The Senators are urging the Attorney General to work with all of the branches in the Department of Justice to utilize the federally approved medications to treat opioid addiction “in combination with counseling”. “Specifically, the Department should initiate a multi-state program utilizing anti-addiction medications to support successful reentry into society of opioid addicted offenders from various correctional settings.” I know that you will join me in supporting this approach and clearly the sixteen Senators understand the benefit of providing access to Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction in the Criminal Justice setting.

AATOD has been working with many partners in trying to increase access to Medication Assisted Treatment in the Criminal Justice setting for over 15 years. We have worked with our partners in the Legal Action Center and continue to reference their groundbreaking policy paper of December 1, 2011, “Legality of Denying Access to Medication Assisted Treatment in the Criminal Justice System”. Please click HERE to gain access to the report in its entirety.

We also supported the publication of the RSAT Training Tool (Residential Substance Abuse Treatment): Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Offender Populations, which was published through the Bureau of Justice Assistance/Department of Justice on March 10, 2013. Please click HERE to access this training tool in its entirety.

SAMHSA has released its report on the use of Medication-Assisted Treatment and the Criminal Justice System, based on meetings that were conducted during the last quarter of 2011. Reference this link to access the report and its resources.

Clearly, the sixteen Senators understand the importance of using federally approved medications to treat opioid addiction as a method of preventing relapse. There is still widespread misunderstanding about the use of such medications in the Criminal Justice setting, and a number of reports have been written about why such medications have not been more broadly utilized.

I just thought you should read this remarkable letter and the linked reports. We all have an opportunity to work in support of what our Senators are encouraging, and we should use our collective efforts to achieve such goals.

Sincerely yours,

Mark W. Parrino, M.P.A.


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