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New Report Features 10 Best Practices for Jails and Prisons on Responding to Opioid Use Disorder

Opioid Use Disorder Best Practices for Corrections highlights 10 essential strategies that jails and prisons can use to address the treatment needs of individuals with opioid use disorders (OUD) and those involved with the criminal legal system. It includes actionable resources for policymakers, corrections officials, and key stakeholders to improve OUD practices and policies in correctional settings.

The science and evidence is based on a study published in Health & Justice by Chestnut Health Systems, where the researchers identified best practices that are consistent with treatment and practice guidelines. These best practices are used by federal agencies and national organizations and supported by scientific literature. The research team also conducted a comprehensive review of the availability of these practices in the study sites that were located in counties severely affected by the opioid epidemic.

The 10 recommended strategies featured include:

  1. Screening for opioid use disorder

  2. Clinical assessment by qualified treatment providers

  3. Medically managed withdrawal

  4. Medications for opioid use administration

  5. Services for pregnant women

  6. Counseling and wrap-around services

  7. Collaborative relations with community providers of opioid use disorder treatment

  8. Assistance with applications for state Medicaid/insurance coverage

  9. Reentry services

  10. Overdose prevention

This report was prepared by the Addiction Policy Forum (APF) in conjunction with Chestnut Health Systems and the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) Coordination and Translation Center, an initiative funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) through the NIH HEAL Initiative. The research reported in the publication was supported by NIDA of the NIH under award number UG1DA050065. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIDA, the NIH HEAL Initiative, or the participating site.


Scott, C. K., Grella, C. E., Dennis, M. L., Carnevale, J., & LaVallee, R. (2022). Availability of best practices for opioid use disorder in jails and related training and resource needs: findings from a national interview study of jails in heavily impacted counties in the U.S. Health & Justice, 10(1), 36.


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