The Yamhill County Correctional Facility has launched a pilot program for medication assisted treatment (MAT) for inmates with opioid addictions such as heroin. Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office has received funding from Oregon Health Authority to administer a MAT program while individuals with opioid use disorder are in custody. Inmates with a history of using heroin or other opioids who qualify for the program are given the opportunity to start Suboxone, a medication that dramatically reduces cravings. Suboxone is an FDA-approved medication for assisted detox of people with opioid addiction. Suboxone administration rapidly decreases opioid withdrawal symptoms and will allow inmates to move into general housing while they go through assisted detox. Prior to the implementation of this program, inmates who were experiencing opioid detox had to remain in the medical unit, which limited their access to other programs in the facility. Sheriff Svenson noted “With this program, inmates will be able to better assimilate to the jail while still in the beginning stages of treatment.”

The Willamette Valley Comprehensive Treatment Center has partnered with the Sheriff’s Office to provide the medical consultation, medication prescription, and mental health services for inmates participating in the MAT program. Dr. Lorne Cross, Willamette Valley Comprehensive Treatment Center Medical Director, is overseeing the program and stated, “I am very excited about the opportunity to treat inmates with opiate addiction and I believe it will be a great benefit to those receiving treatment as well as the whole community.”

To ensure the individual remains in treatment after leaving the facility, after care appointments are scheduled in coordination with Provoking Hope, Yamhill County Health and Human Services, and private providers prior to an inmate being released from custody. Because research shows a 75 percent chance that inmates who previously used opioids will seek out and use drugs within 24 hours of release, the handoff to services in the community to continue the treatment is vital. “Providing a service which starts medication assisted treatment while individuals are in custody, where their access to opioids is restricted and they can focus on treatment, will greatly increase someone’s chance of overcoming addiction and increase their overall quality of life.” Sheriff Svenson said. “Implementing MAT means we can start to close the revolving door for individuals who commit crimes to feed their addiction.”


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