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Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Decision Making And Care Navigation Upon Release From Prison: A Feasibility Study

Authors Banta-Green CJ, Floyd AS, Vick K, Arthur J, Hoeft TJ, Tsui JI

Received 28 June 2019

Accepted for publication 8 October 2019

Published 22 October 2019 Volume 2019:10 Pages 57—67


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Li-Tzy Wu

Caleb J Banta-Green,1,2 Anthony S Floyd,1,3 Kristin Vick,1 Jen Arthur,1 Theresa J Hoeft,4 Judith I Tsui5

1Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 2School of Public Health, Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 3School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 4Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 5Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Correspondence: Caleb J Banta-Green
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington, 1107 NE 45th Street, Suite 120, Box 354805, Seattle, WA 98105-4631, USA

Purpose: Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a medical condition that is effectively treated with medications. A major challenge in breaking the cycle of OUD and related illegal activity is seamlessly introducing medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) as individuals leave jail or prison. We examined the feasibility of a pilot intervention to link participants to ongoing MOUD and psychosocial supports following release from custody.
Methods: The study enrolled adults with a history of OUD released from Washington State prisons to Department of Corrections (DOC) community supervision. Participants were randomized to the study intervention or comparison group. The intervention consisted of education on OUD and available treatments, support with individualized treatment decision making, and continued care navigation for 6 months to facilitate linkage to chosen treatments. Participants randomized to the control condition received referral to services in the community from their community corrections officers. A care navigation activity log documented intervention participants’ intervention engagement, service utilization, and needs. Follow-up interviews were conducted at 1 and 6 months to assess satisfaction with the intervention.
Results: Fifteen participants were enrolled. All were male, most were white (86.6%) and the average age was 36.9 years. The majority (14 of 15 participants) were near-daily heroin users with severe OUD prior to incarceration. Of the seven intervention participants, two wished to start medications immediately. Three participants reported starting buprenorphine or methadone in the subsequent follow-up period, with or without social support and/or outpatient counseling, and three reported enrolling in social support and/or outpatient counseling without medications. Participants who received the intervention reported high satisfaction. We discuss barriers and facilitators to study implementation.
Conclusion: An intervention to link participants to ongoing MOUD and psychosocial supports following release from prison had broad acceptability among participants and was feasible to implement among those recruited; however, enrollment was much lower than anticipated and the study intervention did not demonstrate the intended effect to facilitate use of MOUD immediately post-release in this small sample of participants. Given recent research showing benefits of pre-release medication initiation, the potential added benefits of this two-part intervention should be studied in systems that initiate MOUD prior to release.

Keywords: opioid use disorder, opioids, intervention development, criminal justice, treatment, feasibility study

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