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MAT Stops Recidivism In Inmate Populations With OUD

A new report from NIH studies recidivism rates in justice-involved individuals who are administered buprenorphine, a Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) drug. The study showed that people who got treatment for their opioid use disorder (OUD) with MAT were less likely to re-offend or be re-incarcerated.

What is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine is a prescription medication that helps treat opioid use disorder. When offered in jails or prisons, this type of MAT is usually administered as an injection taken once a month. Sometimes users will be prescribed it in the form of Sublocade, which is a film that they put under the tongue or inside their cheek.

Buprenorphine helps prevent uncomfortable or painful withdrawal symptoms without getting the patient high.

About the Study on MAT

Most studies involving Medication-Assisted Treatment look at the long-term health benefits, including abstinence from opioids. The study on recidivism is one of the first that looks at the benefits of using MAT inside and outside the jail system.

The researchers specifically thought it was important to trace the steps of patients who were in jail. Unlike people in prison, people who spend short stints in jail tend to be more likely to have committed addiction-related crimes. These include arrests such as theft, drug possession, and DUI crimes.

“There was sort of a ‘natural experiment’ where two rural county jails located within 23 miles of each other had very similar populations and different approaches to the same problem,” said study author Elizabeth Evans, Ph.D. “Most people convicted of crimes carry out short-term sentences in jail, not prisons, so it was important for us to study our research question in jails.”=

The Study Results: OUD and Recividism With MAT

Most of the people in the study were men who were white and in their mid-thirties. They followed the results of 469 adults in Franklin County and Hampshire County, Massachusetts. All met the criteria of being with opioid use disorder. During this time, Franklin County jail began to offer buprenorphine to inmates with opioid use disorder. The goal was to see which inmates had better outcomes.

Following arrest and incarceration, Franklin County was able to see a decline in recidivism in re-arrest within the four years, with a 32% reduction in overall recidivism. One crime that saw the fewest re-arrests was the destruction of property, a misdemeanor associated with substance use.

Getting Help for OUD

Medication-Assisted Treatment, alongside appropriate counseling or therapy, is considered the “gold standard” for opioid use disorder. We help people across North Carolina get started with MAT and navigate the path to recovery. Please give us a call at 910-295-7246.


If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.

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If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.

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