FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2023
Media Contact: Ali Gantz, email@example.com
Armstrong, PA — Today, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) visited Armstrong County Jail to meet with staff and discuss successes within their county jail-based medication assisted treatment (MAT) program, made possible through PCCD's Office of Justice Programs and a partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP).
"Allowing folks to access treatment within the criminal justice system and following their release allows them to have an additional door to access the help they need and deserve," said PCCD Executive Director Mike Pennington. "Through this funding, our hope is to reduce criminal activity, arrests, and incarceration for individuals with opioid use disorder who come in contact with the criminal justice system."
September is National Recovery Month. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. Utilization of MAT — the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies— is shown to be a critical, evidence-based component helping people to sustain a life in recovery.
"A key component to managing the overdose crisis is ensuring that individuals have access to high quality evidence-based treatment, particularly criminal justice involved Pennsylvanians," said DDAP Secretary Dr. Latika Davis-Jones. "DDAP is a proud partner of this effort, and the clear and proven success it's had within the Armstrong County Jail. The substantial decrease in recidivism in inmates connected to the program is just one of the successes realized as a result of this effort."
Since 2021, just over $1 million in SAMHSA State Opioid Response funding has been sub-awarded to the Armstrong County Commissioners for the Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc to increase opportunities to provide MAT in combination with Cognitive Behavior Treatment (CBT) to individuals in Armstrong County Jail and upon release to the community. The goal of this funding is to allow county jails and/or work release centers to better equip people who have been recently incarcerated for life in the community by providing tools to reach and maintain long-term recovery.
"The Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc. has been working with the Armstrong County Jail since 2016 to provide medication assisted treatment to inmates with opioid use disorders," said Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc. Executive Director Kami Anderson. "With the expansion of MAT, we have noticed a sharp decrease in recidivism for the inmates who receive MAT while incarcerated."
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three types of medication for the treatment of opioid use disorders including buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. Currently at Armstrong County Jail, Sublocade (buprenorphine extended release) is offered to inmates with a valid buprenorphine prescription when entering the jail and Vivitrol (naltrexone extended release) is available to inmates prior to release. Data tracked by Armstrong County since 2016 shows that inmates who do not receive MAT had a 69 percent recidivism rate, while inmates who did receive MAT had a 33 percent recidivism rate— a reduction of 36 percent.
"This program has proven that we care about the drug pandemic and the individuals affected by being one of the first county jails to accept and utilize the medication assisted treatment program and we have proven that we are open to solutions on how to help incarcerated individuals overcome this vicious disease," said Armstrong County Jail Warden Jessica Hicks.
Individuals seeking substance use disorder treatment or recovery resources for themselves or a loved one can be connected to local resources by visiting treatmentatlas.org or by calling the toll-free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Organizations can also request a supply of the overdose reversal drug, naloxone, and/or drug checking strips by completing the PA Overdose Prevention Program Request Form. More information about the PA Overdose Prevention Program can be found on the PCCD website.
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