Post-release treatment uptake among participants of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections comprehensive medication assisted treatment program

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The Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) recently implemented the first state-wide, comprehensive medications for addiction treatment (MAT) program in the US. The objective of this study was to elucidate perceived barriers for individuals who participated in RIDOC's MAT program while incarcerated. Of the 588 individuals eligible for this study, 227 phone surveys were completed with 214 individuals. Data relevant to demographic characteristics, probation/parole status, retention in MAT treatment, MAT type received during incarceration, MAT treatment history, location where they received community treatment, perceived barriers to treatment, and future goals for MAT were collected. Simple percentages, frequencies, means, and standard deviations were calculated with SPSS. Most participants (82.4%) reported continuing MAT post-release and a majority (74.3%) received treatment at an opioid treatment program. Those who did not connect with treatment post-release reported transportation issues (23.1%) and not wanting to continue MAT (20.5%) as major reasons for not continuing treatment. The most commonly reported goal for treatment was to continue MAT long-term (43.5%). Results indicate that most participants linked to MAT treatment post-release. Participants reported reasons for why they did not continue MAT and had mixed intentions about continuing MAT in the future. Results provide identification of novel factors, such as side effects, time between release and treatment linkage, and family and friends' opinions that influence MAT continuation post-incarceration. Results highlight areas of exploration to influence treatment retention, including the role of probation/parole officers and the potential for peer support specialists to assist in reducing stigma and increasing interest in MAT.

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Preventive Medicine