NCCHC Foundation Receives Grant From Bureau of Justice Assistance to Address Substance Use Disorder in Jails

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Posted Nov 30, 2020

The Bureau of Justice Assistance Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program has selected the NCCHC Foundation as the lead organization for creation of clinical guidelines for withdrawal management for jails.

Supported by the approximately $300,000 grant, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, tapping into the expertise of the American Society for Addiction Medicine, will create an evidence-based set of clinical guidelines, policies, procedures, and protocols designed for jails. The guidelines, aligned with community standards, will assist clinicians as they treat patients with opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders in jails.

Many jails lack adequate staffing, infrastructure, training, leadership, and community support to offer medically appropriate treatment for OUD, including the use of opioid agonists such as methadone.

“This work is critical for saving lives,” says NCCHC Foundation Director Jennifer Riskind. “Supporting medically managed withdrawal is an ethical and medical responsibility. Jails are reporting that the opioid crisis is worse than ever due to the economic and societal impacts of COVID-19. More individuals are addicted to opioids and withdrawal is more clinically severe as the strength of prescription and illegal drugs has increased.”

The project will begin by convening an expert advisory committee representing key stakeholders from correctional health care, addiction medicine, and jail administration. The committee, supported by NCCHC and ASAM, will first identify existing recommendations through an environmental scan that may need to be modified for jail settings. The guidelines are expected to be completed in September 2021.

The NCCHC Foundation was launched in 2020 to support research in the correctional health care field. This project builds on NCCHC’s long-standing expertise in standards-setting and correctional health care. NCCHC has been a pioneer working with SAMHSA to allow jails and prisons to manage their own opioid treatment programs and is the publisher, with the National Sheriffs’ Association, of Jail-Based Medication-Assisted Treatment: Promising Practices, Guidelines, and Resources for the Field.