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Offering Buprenorphine Prior to Release from Jail May Reduce Recidivism

Updated: Apr 20, 2023


Individuals leaving incarceration with opioid use disorder (OUD) are at a high risk for overdose, recidivism, and adverse health outcomes. Providing medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) prior to incarceration and post-release is effective in reducing negative outcomes. Existing studies tend to examine how the use of methadone and/or naltrexone affects client outcomes. And, few studies have examined the impact among individuals leaving county jails.


A recent study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence by Dr. Elizabeth Evans and Dr. Peter Friedmann shared data on the impact of offering buprenorphine in county jails on post-release recidivism events (incarceration, probation violation, arraignment). Individuals who were provided buprenorphine were 32% less likely to recidivate during the first year after release. The study included all adults with OUD (​​N = 469) who were released from two participating county jails in Massachusetts between January 1, 2015 and April 30, 2019. Participants were followed for one year after their release date. Results present compelling evidence that providing buprenorphine during the period of incarceration in jail can reduce recidivism and adverse outcomes.

This study is funded through the Justice and Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term℠ Initiative. Read the publication

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