DOVER, Del.– The Delaware Department of Correction announced Tuesday that it is expanding its Medication Assisted Treatment program to prison facilities statewide.
MAT combines medication and behavioral therapy to treat people who are addicted to opioids, such as heroin and prescription drugs.
“A significant number of the individuals entering our prison system are addicted to opioids and we know that providing medication assisted treatment while incarcerated can help them achieve long-term recovery and improve their chance of success when they return to the community,” said Dr. Marc Richman, chief of the DOC’s Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services.
According to the Delaware Drug Overdose Fatality Review Commission Report (June 2019), 400 recorded deaths were caused by overdose in 2018. More than a quarter of those deaths were individuals previously detained with the Delaware Department of Correction. Of those individuals, half suffered a fatal overdose within three months of release and three-quarters died from an overdose within one year of release.
MAT programs currently exist for pregnant individuals in Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in New Castle and those within residential drug treatment centers. To date, 800 individuals in DOC custody have received treatment through DOC’s existing MAT programs.
All FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder will be employed in DOC’s MAT program.
DOC’s MAT expansion will begin at Sussex Correctional Institution and will expand to remaining prison facilities over the coming months. It will be available to individuals who were prescribed MAT treatment in the community before their incarceration as well as individuals who are recommended MAT treatment during incarceration.