Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $164,138)
RSAT 22 Abstract
In 2020, the average daily population of incarcerated individuals was 1,453 and the five-year average was 1,690 (Jan 1, 2016- Dec 31, 2020). Nationally, data shows that 50-75% of incarcerated individuals have a clinical substance abuse diagnosis. Justice-involved individuals have disproportionately high rates of substance use disorders and infectious diseases, including hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. This disproportionate impact provides an opportunity to integrate treatment and improve outcomes for both substance use disorders and infectious diseases. Therefore, in order to address this comorbidity effectively we must ensure that community health, drug treatment, and criminal justice agencies work together to offer education, screening, counseling, prevention, and treatment programs for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases to offenders returning to the community.
Vermont Act 176, directs the Vermont Department of Corrections (VT DOC) to provide access to all three federally approved MAT drugs (currently: Buprenorphine, Methadone, Naltrexone) for all incarcerated individuals who meet diagnostic criteria for OUD, and elect to do so, for as long as medically necessary. Any incarcerated individual nearing release who is not already maintained on MAT and who has an OUD diagnosis will if at all possible and if safe to do so, be inducted prior to release if they so elect. The VT DOC will allocate RSAT funding to support the jail-based program at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in Burlington, Vermont. Although this facility is located in the most populous county of the state, it is the only Vermont facility housing incarcerated females, and therefore it serves all areas of the state, the majority of which is rural.