Offering Buprenorphine Prior to Release from Jail May Reduce Recidivism

Findings from JCOIN’s Massachusetts Research Hub

Individuals leaving incarceration with opioid use disorder (OUD) are at a high risk for overdose, recidivism, and adverse health outcomes. Providing medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) prior to incarceration and post-release is effective in reducing negative outcomes. Existing studies tend to examine how the use of methadone and/or naltrexone affects client outcomes.  And, few studies have examined the impact among individuals leaving county jails. 

JCOIN’s Massachusetts Clinical Research Center (Research Hub) recently completed a study of the impact of offering buprenorphine in county jails on post-release recidivism events (incarceration, probation violation, arraignment). Individuals who were provided buprenorphine were 32% less likely to recidivate during the first year after release. The study included all adults with OUD (​​N = 469) who were released from two participating county jails in Massachusetts between January 1, 2015 and April 30, 2019. Participants were followed for one year after their release date. Results present compelling evidence that providing buprenorphine during the period of incarceration in jail can reduce recidivism and adverse outcomes.    

This study was led by Dr. Elizabeth Evans and Dr. Peter Friedmann, PIs of the Massachusetts Research Hub.


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This summary is based on the findings from the following publication:

Evans, E. A., Wilson, D., & Friedmann, P. D. (2022). Recidivism and mortality after in-jail buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 231, 109254.