Criminal Justice Review   |  December 28, 2020

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The disproportional rates of opioid use disorder (OUD) in U.S. correctional facilities make them prime intervention points to treat OUD utilizing medication to treat opioid use disorder (MOUD), the evidence-based clinical standard of care. MOUD has been shown to be effective to support recovery and reduce recurrence of OUD, overdose deaths, and recidivism for justice-involved persons both while incarcerated and once they reenter their communities. Despite the high prevalence, most jails and prisons do not offer MOUD. Litigation has spurred expanded access in more facilities, but widespread MOUD access can only become a reality through a comprehensive effort of corrections officials, medical experts, advocates, legislators, and other champions to raise awareness and affect ideological and policy change. It is a legal and ethical imperative that the lives of justice-involved persons not be jeopardized by the lack of evidence-based treatment for OUD in correctional settings.

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