Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health: Opioid Use Disorder Treatment and Incarceration

Date of Review: April, 2019

This online video lecture, ‘Opioid Use Disorder Treatment and Incarceration’, is a 30 minute video lecture introducing basic concepts around the structural; environmental; political and social causes of the epidemics of opioid use disorder and mass incarceration as well as the intersection of these two that compound both epidemics. Historical forces like the war on drugs and deinstitutionalization of mental health facilities that consequently criminalized and incarcerated those with health disorders leading to the disproportionate numbers of people incarcerated in the US compared with the rest of the world. Dr. Rich describes the underlying physical and psychological etiologies that make opioid use disorders difficult to manage, treat and put incarcerated individuals high risk of overdose post-release and recidivism if not linked to community progress. An overview of opiates and treatment options including medication assisted treatment (MAT) and its mechanisms and successes are introduced. MAT has shown benefit and policies and data for its use are described. Some of the data is from 2011/2015 and correctional health programs may now be incorporating more MAT for substance abuse disorders has tremendous benefits for recovery but Dr. Rich makes a compelling argument that deaths; drug-related crimes and improved outcomes when returning to the community. This module is a voice-over PowerPoint video lecture. It could easily be used as a preparatory material or asynchronous content for the pre-clinical years in health, equity and advocacy curricula, opioid use disorder teaching. This module is part of an online student curriculum aimed at teaching medical students about criminal justice and guidelines on caring for justice-involved patients. Specific screening, management, treatment and advocacy approaches are described in the seven 30-40 minute correctional health curriculum’s video lectures, which is part of an offering from the ACCJH. The ACCJH built this curriculum with partners from the University of Massachusetts, Harvard and Cornell with the goal of education and inspiring students to become advocates. — Ashti Doobay-Persaud, MD, NCEAS

Corresponding Author’s Email:


Brown University

Source of the Curriculum/Resource:


Relevant Specialty:

Family and Community Medicine, Pediatrics

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