Montana Department of Corrections
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
Carolynn Bright, Communications Director
DOC, community partners explore medication-assisted treatment to help offenders with substance use disorders
BILLINGS, MT - To help offenders with substance use disorders address their addiction and more effectively transition when released from secure facilities, the Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) is collaborating with community partners to find ways to introduce medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to DOC programs.
MAT is the use of FDA-approved medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.
“By proactively combining MAT and behavioral treatment, we can significantly increase inmates’ opportunity for long-term success in the community,” said DOC Director Reginald Michael. “Providing this solid foundation for offenders is a crucial component of the work the DOC is accomplishing through evidence-based programming and its justice reinvestment initiative.”
Correctional and health care professionals will gather in Billings at the First Interstate Bank Operations Center, 1800 Sixth Ave. N., on Thursday, March 5 to discuss best practices for implementing MAT at DOC facilities. The forum, scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature speakers including Dr. Kathleen Maurer, director of Health and Addiction Services for the Connecticut Department of Corrections; Dr. Greg Holzman, medical officer for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services; and more.
The fact-finding and strategic development portions of the MAT program — which involve a long list of partners, including DPHHS — are being funded through a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs. The Billings event is the second MAT educational forum hosted using these grant funds.
The DOC hopes to have a comprehensive MAT plan developed and in place by the end of 2020.