As the opioid overdose cases rise, policy-makers and researchers should target interventions to populations at highest risk. Incarceration serves as a risk factor for opioid overdose (Gan et al. Addiction 2021) and a large portion of recent overdose deaths have had encounters in the criminal justice system. Medications for opioid use disorder in the criminal justice system can save lives, though unique administrative barriers in jails and prisons hinder access. As facilities expand medications for opioid use disorder access (due to new legislation and court rulings across states), extended-release buprenorphine offers an opportunity to overcome these barriers including logistics of administration, diversion concern, patient stigma, and an increased bridge of treatment during re-entry to the community. As extended-release buprenorphine has practical advantages in correctional health delivery, future research and policy discussions should investigate its optimal role in treating opiate addiction in a carceral setting.
Injecting opioid use disorder treatment in jails and prisons: The potential of extended-release buprenorphine in the carceral setting