CONCORD — The New Hampshire Department of Corrections has announced the second of a three-phase expansion of Medication-Assisted Treatment in New Hampshire Department of Corrections facilities at the New Hampshire Correctional Facility for Women occurred the week of July 29.
Medical and mental health professionals screened 20 patients to determine their eligibility in the program and their individualized course of treatment to assist in the sustained abstinence of opioid and/or alcohol use.
One patient confessed she is terrified to leave prison later this year after living opioid-free throughout her incarceration. “I don’t particularly want to die,” she stated during her assessment.
Another patient, who is serving a felony sentence for armed robbery, admitted she started using opioids as a teenager. She could be released on parole as early as 2021 and, like many of the other patients, understands the reality of reintegration. “Some days in prison it (craving for opioids) can be up to an 8 (on a scale of 1-10) and that scares me for when I get out,” she admitted.
MAT works to aid individuals in coping better with cravings while undergoing other therapies and focus on their rehabilitation, attaining/sustaining employment and housing, and their families. Studies have shown that within the first two weeks of release from prison, individuals are 40 times more likely to die from an opioid overdose than the general public. MAT and comprehensive continuity of care planning are strategies to help decrease that percentage.
Funding for the enhancement of opioid MAT treatment comes from the State Opioid Response grant transferred from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant also provides funding for two additional re-entry care coordinator positions who will work with residents diagnosed with an opioid-use disorder as they transition out to parole and into our communities. The funding has enabled the Department of Corrections to expand the selection of medication available for treatment of an opioid-use disorder to better align with community models.
MAT expansion’s next implementation will be at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men