(July 25, 2019)
University researchers in Massachusetts will receive grants to join a national study of opioid treatment in criminal justice settings, reports Eurekalert! Dr. Elizabeth Evans, assistant professor of public health at the Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst, and Dr. Peter Friedman, associate dean of research at the Univ. of Massachusetts Medical School, will gain $10 million to research an opioid treatment program for the state’s inmates. The state legislature passed the program to assist inmates’ opioid recovery in seven Massachusetts counties. It provides in-custody opioid care and follow-up support after release.
But Dr. Evans and Dr. Friedman’s research joins a larger effort. A dozen institutions nationwide have similar opioid research efforts, and they form the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN), an initiative from the National Institute of Health. Because JCOIN evaluates opioid treatment options in the prisons of 15 U.S. states, its potential gives Dr. Evans hope: “This multistate research collaborative has many strengths,” she said. “It will speak to policy-making at the state level and how that impacts public health.”