Giving Compass’ Take:
• This Prison Policy Initiative post examines opioid treatment programs for recently incarcerated people; even though many show promising results, prisons aren’t using them.
• What can we do to help advance more substance abuse interventions for this population? How does it tie in with other types of support, whether in employment or education?
For as long as the data has been available, substance use disorders have affected incarcerated people at incredibly high rates. In 2009, the last time they collected national data, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that almost two-thirds of incarcerated people suffer from substance use disorders and only a quarter of that group received any drug treatment while incarcerated. Further, as of 2005, less than 10% of formerly incarcerated people had access to substance abuse treatment after their release. The lack of treatment — as well as other documented challenges of reentry — contributes to the prevalence of drug overdose, the leading cause of death among recently incarcerated people. But how has the progression of the opioid epidemic influenced their experiences?
Only a few studies about opioid deaths among formerly incarcerated people have been conducted since 2010, when the nature of the epidemic changed with the shift to heroin use. One of these studies, Opioid Overdose Mortality Among Former North Carolina Inmates: 2000-2015, compares the rates of opioid overdose deaths among recently incarcerated people in North Carolina to those of the general North Carolina population. The results are staggering.
Read the full article about opioid addiction among formerly incarcerated people by Maddy Troilo at Prison Policy Initiative.
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