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Criminal Justice System, Incarcerated, Jail, Medications for Opioid Use Disorder, Opioid Use Disorder



  1. McDermott-Winger, Erin R. RN, MSN, CCHP
  2. Latham, Christine L. RN, DNSc


Abstract: The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on incarcerated individuals, with significantly higher rates of opioid use disorder (OUD) and risk of opioid overdose than the general public. Medications for OUD (MOUDs) are currently used with an interdisciplinary approach with good outcomes, but MOUD-approved medications are grossly underutilized in this population. Post incarceration, individuals without MOUDs have lessened their opioid tolerance after abstinence, resulting in staggering death rates or reincarceration from OUD. This article will describe the barriers within the criminal justice system that impede the provision of appropriate treatment for OUD. A structural intervention approach that addresses the barriers will be discussed, as well as patient outcomes associated with MOUDs, and recommendations for education, practice, and future research.