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Department of Correction to roll out expanded program for inmates with substance abuse disorder

Delaware Public Media

The Delaware Department of Correction and its medical provider Connections are seeking to improve the treatment of inmates with substance abuse disorder by making medication-assisted treatment more widely available.

DOC officials say the state has been offering medication-assisted withdrawal treatment at three of its correctional facilities since August of last year—easing inmates off of substances with short-term medication assistance.

But Connections COO Chris Devaney says the state is looking to expand that program at all level four facilities by allowing people to continue receiving their long-term medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse disorder after they’ve been incarcerated.

“They will be able to continue their treatment with their community provider while they are inside the prison system,” said Devaney. “The community provider will bring the methadone or the buprenorphine to the nurses that work in the level four facilities.”

Devaney says inmates will be evaluated to see if they require continued MAT after their release from prison, and if the inmates give consent, Connections will drive them to a clinic upon their release.

Dr. Marc Richman is Chief for the Bureau of Correctional Healthcare.

He points to the high risk of overdose for people with substance abuse disorder leaving the prison system.

“If we can get any of these guys and gals that are in our prison and jail setting the treatment they need while they are with us, they’ll have a much better opportunity to continue in the community and hopefully reduce that number of deaths,” said Richman.

The program is planned for all six of Delaware level four correctional facilities. Officials say it is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

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