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Applying the Evidence Summer Series

Jails and prisons are critical intervention points in addressing the nation’s overdose crisis. Many systems, including correctional facilities, are beginning to recognize that access to evidence-based treatment and medication for substance use disorder saves lives and must form a fundamental component of any effective program.

Jails and prisons across the country have begun to incorporate programs offering evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), including access to all three FDA-approved medications to treat OUD: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

Policymakers in counties and states nationwide have accelerated these efforts in the face of litigation, as well as out of a recognition that providing evidence based treatment to people while they are incarcerated can decrease overdose rates, both among the reentry population and statewide.  A number of states have begun to mandate reforms through executive action or legislation, and many are using federal funding to support the development and implementation of new programs. In the face of continued high rates of overdose death, it is more apparent than ever that a public health approach is needed to save lives and support communities.

This Virtual Event Series will highlight best practices, challenges and opportunities in implementing medication-based treatment in correctional facilities over four sessions.

Session 1: Medication-Based Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Jails and Prisons: National Trends & Best Practices

June 10 12:00-1:30 EDT

This virtual event will provide an overview of national trends related to medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder in correctional facilities and will highlight successful models and best practices from across the country. Speakers will discuss trends in positive outcomes following implementation of these programs, including significant reductions in opioid overdose deaths and recidivism, as well as an increase in sustained engagement in treatment, employment and other social factors.


  • Elizabeth Connolly, Project Director, Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Initiative, Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Karen Taylor, Warden, Camden County Department of Corrections, New Jersey
  • Marc F. Stern, MD, MPH, University of Washington School of Public Health
  • Michael White, Director, Community Programs, Community Medical Services


Session 2: Challenges & Opportunities in Implementing Medication-Based Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Rural and Mid-Sized County Jails

June 29 12:00-1:30 EDT

This virtual event will provide a look at how rural and mid-sized counties are implementing medication-based treatment in corrections, along with opportunities to expand programs. This interactive session will provide opportunities for state and county leadership to engage with experienced experts from the field on developing successful models, overcoming implementation hurdles, identifying funding, and successful approaches to training and buy-in. It will also provide an opportunity to discuss how adopting a public health approach to substance use disorders improves outcomes for people, families, and communities.


  • Christopher Donelan, Sheriff, Franklin County MA (ppt)
  • Deborah Furr-Holden, PhD, Associate Dean for Public Health and Director of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions, Michigan State University
  • Brandon George, Indiana Addiction Issues Coalition
  • William Jenkins, RN, Jail Health Administrator, Eaton County (MI) Sheriff’s Department (ppt)
  • Ruth Potee, MD, Medical Director, Franklin County House of Corrections (ppt)


Session 3: Data Collection & Outcomes Measurement: Impact of Access to Medication-Based Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Correctional Facilities

July 16 12:00-1:30 EDT

As correctional facilities across the country implement new programs to address substance use disorder, many are leveraging data collection efforts, process measures and outcomes measures to determine success, sustainability, and community impact.

This virtual event convenes researchers from across the country who are evaluating the impact of medication-based treatment for OUD in correctional facilities on measures such as recidivism, treatment engagement, employment, and more.  This session is an opportunity for researchers to share information on data collection and measurement efforts in current pilots and initiatives taking place in correctional facilities, as well as to identify opportunities for collaboration and potential for alignment. 


  • Dr. Brad Ray, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, Wayne State University’s School of Social Work (ppt)
  • Dr. Tisha Wiley, Chief of the Services Research Branch and Associate Director for Criminal Justice at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (ppt)
  • Dr. Amanda Latimore, Assistant Scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (ppt)
  • Donna Strugar-Fritsch, BSN, MPA, CCHP, Principal, Health Management Associates (ppt)
  • Dr. Alexandra Duncan, Senior Officer, The Pew Charitable Trusts (ppt)
  • Doyle Morrison, Community Programs and Integration Manager, Community Medical Services (ppt)
  • Shannon Mace, JD, MPH, Senior Advisor, National Council (ppt)


Session 4: Future State: Addiction Policy, Decarceration, and Connection to Care

July 28 12:00-1:30 EDT

For the past several decades, incarceration has been one of our nation’s primary tactics in addressing substance use and substance use disorders, resulting in record rates of incarceration, particularly for people of color in the United States. Research shows that incarceration does little to address problematic drug use and, in reality, exacerbates the conditions in which substance use disorder thrives.  In growing recognition of these poor outcomes, some communities have started to move away from incarceration as a response to drug use. 

However, decarceration alone is insufficient.  Communities need a comprehensive approach to address the totality of services and supports that will help people live and thrive in their communities, including seamless access to evidence-based treatment, housing, employment, family and social support, and more.  Speakers will discuss strategies for ensuring that community-based services increase as incarceration decreases, how communities are aligning incentives to promote reform, and how society can translate research into actionable policy and practice to support a new paradigm.


  • Caleb Banta-Green, PhD, MPH, MSW, Principal Research Scientist at the UW Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute and an Affiliate Associate Professor, UW School of Public Health (presentation links)
  • Michael Botticelli, former Director, Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center; former Director of National Drug Control Policy in the Obama White House
  • Patrice Harris, MD, MA, Immediate Past President of the American Medical Association