Background

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a treatable condition and yet our healthcare system currently has difficulty with quick access to provide patients leaving the criminal justice system with a seamless way of accessing medication to treat opioid use disorder. Treatment with medication to treat opioid use disorder (MOUD) reduces mortality and improves the likelihood of disease remission. Criminal justice partners can play a critical role in the effective screening and direct linkage to care for patients with OUD to these services. Prisons and jails around the US need a framework for identification, treating, and referring patients who present with OUD to quick access to MOUD. In many communities, treatment systems lack the ability to remain in contact with individual clients over the extended periods of time that stable recovery and community reintegration often require. Although justice systems track people for much longer, they are segmented, and each component maintains contact during only one stage of an offender’s progress through the system. Care coordination during transitions of care can address some of the root causes of such problems as lack of communication-related to shared information and lack of timely follow-up with a provider for Medication Assisted Therapy (Suboxone), behavioral health, and medical care (including Hepatitis C, HIV, and other public health concerns).