Welcome to the Jail and Prison Opioid Project (JPOP)

Justice-involved populations are disproportionately affected by the opioid and overdose crisis. In fact, people who have been incarcerated are roughly 129 times more likely to experience a fatal overdose in the first two weeks after their release compared to the general public due to reduced tolerance during incarceration.1

Despite the fact that evidence-based medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) is the standard of care in the community, and has been proven to reduce risk of overdose and mortality, it remains widely unavailable in most correctional facilities. However, that is slowly changing. Correctional staff, medical professionals, incarcerated individuals and politicians are beginning to advocate for MOUD.

JPOP aims to address the need for accessible information about medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder in the criminal legal system. We encourage you to engage with the resources and tools and links on this website to help to improve treatment for opioid use disorder in your community.

Who has access to Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) in Correctional Settings?

Out of the roughly 5,000 correctional facilities in the United States, only…

602

offer any form of medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD).2

While there are roughly 2,300,000 million people incarcerated in the United States, only…

43305

receive any form of MOUD while incarcerated.3

Total facilities offering MOUD since 2004 (draft).

Explore the Data

How did we get here?

  • Opioid Use Disorder

    Opioid use disorder (OUD), or opioid addiction, is a problematic pattern of opioid use despite negative consequences.4 OUD affects how we relate to others and make decisions. Reaching a level of use that can be formally diagnosed often depends on a reduction in a person’s ability to function because of the disorder. More diagnostic information can be found here.

    As of 2018, 2 million people had been diagnosed with OUD.5

  • The Three Waves

    The current opioid crisis has been defined by three “waves” or phases:

    • 1990s: Prescription opioids
    • 2010: Heroin
    • 2013: Synthetically manufactured opioids (fentanyl and related compounds)6
  • Criminal Legal System

    Due to the criminalization of people who use illicit substances, individuals with OUD are overrepresented in the criminal legal system. It is estimated that 65% of people incarcerated have a substance use disorder.7

  • Medication for Opioid Use Disorder

    Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) is the gold-standard of care for individuals with OUD. There are three approved medications (methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone) that are commonly used to treat OUD. When administered properly, these medications block the effects of opioids and:

    • Curb withdrawal symptoms and cravings
    • Reduce the risk of overdose
    • Improve quality of life
  • Lack of essential treatment in corrections

    MOUD is critical to addressing the opioid epidemic. Many people become involved with the criminal legal system as a result of OUD and yet, very few of these individuals have access to MOUD with linkage to treatment in the community.

An Overview of the Rhode Island Department of Correction’s MAT Program

This video provides a brief overview of the program successfully implemented throughout Rhode Island correctional facilities in 2016 to provide all three forms of MOUD to people incarcerated with opioid use disorder. The program resulted in a 61% decrease in post-incarceration overdose deaths.

News

Combatting Stigma against Buprenorphine

On July 19th, 2021, the Providence Journal published an article…

New York State Assembly Joins Senate in Passing S1795/A533

On May 26th, 2021, the New York State Assembly joined the Senate…

Events

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References

  1. Binswanger IA, Stern MF, Deyo RA, et al. Release from prison–a high risk of death for former inmates [published correction appears in N Engl J Med. 2007 Feb 1;356(5):536]. N Engl J Med. 2007;356(2):157-165. doi:10.1056/NEJMsa064115 
  2. Calculated by JPOP on 7/30/21. Total number of jails and prisons taken from the Prison Policy Initiative.
  3. Calculated by JPOP on 3/14/21.
  4. CDC. Prevent Opioid Use Disorder. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Updated October 11, 2017. Accessed June 10, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prevention/opioid-use-disorder.html
  5. Lipari RN, Park-Lee E. Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2019. 2. HHS Publication No. PEP19-5068. NSDUH Series H-54. Published August 2019. Accessed June 10, 2021. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf 
  6. CDC. Understanding the Epidemic. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Updated March 17, 2021. Accessed June 10, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html 
  7. NIDA. Criminal Justice DrugFacts. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. Updated June 1, 2020. Accessed June 10, 2021. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/criminal-justice#ref