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  • Ann Tucker

Statewide Policy Changes in Massachusetts Could Lead to New Hope for Treatment of OUD in Jails

In Massachusetts, individuals returning to the community are up to 120 times more likely to experience a fatal overdose than the general population. So, what can be done?

Massachusetts lawmakers addressed the problem with an innovative approach called Chapter 208. That’s shorthand for the Act for Prevention and Access to Appropriate Care and Treatment of Addiction. In a nutshell, it requires acute hospitals with emergency services and satellite emergency departments to initiate medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) therapy to patients after an opioid-related overdose.

Passed by the state legislature in 2018, the act also requires several county jails to deliver all forms of Food and Drug Administration-approved MOUD. Chapter 208 established a 4-year pilot program expanding MOUD access at five Houses of Corrections (jails) in the state; two additional jails voluntarily joined the pilot. They must make sure individuals receive MOUD prior to detention, initiate medications prior to release among select inmates where appropriate, and help make it possible for them to continue receiving the medication once back in the community after their release. Register here

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