(Camden, NJ) – Since 2018, the Camden County Correctional Facility’s Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) Program has been saving lives and changing the landscape of overdose prevention and the opioid epidemic. Recently, the Camden Coalition, a nonprofit organization aimed at improving care for people with complex health and social needs, conducted a groundbreaking study which found that the MOUD Program has reduced overdoses among participants after they have left the facility on a large scale.
The study, which is the first of its kind in the state, found that non-participants had a higher chance of overdosing post release than participants. Comparing both groups at 30 days, 180 days, and up to 365 days post-release, participants of the program had a lower percent overdose rate than nonparticipants. The analysis was completed on a subset of the jail population with a history of opioid use disorder in their medical records.
“We knew that this program was effective but seeing definitive proof that these medications are saving lives just goes to show that these programs need to be implemented in every correctional facility across the country if we want to make a difference in this crisis,” Commissioner Jonathan Young said. “This program has been nationally renowned for a reason. medically assisted treatment is the way of the future and I encourage every elected official and community leader to read this study and educate themselves on the benefits of programs such as MOUD.”
In this study, the evaluation team used integrated data systems along with MOUD program data, encompassing incarcerations that occurred from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2020. During this time 10,592 individuals were incarcerated in the facility and 1,225 participated in the MOUD program, receiving Suboxone, methadone, or Vivitrol during 1,605 jail commitments.
Congressman Donald Norcross discussed how Camden County is setting the standard for medically assisted treatment for addiction.
“I am proud that Camden County is leading the way in overdose prevention through its nationally renowned MOUD Program. This study is more proof that utilizing methadone as a medical treatment in consultation with a doctor, we can save lives. This is a vital step forward that will lower barriers to care and encourage more localities to adopt similar programs proven to save lives,” Rep. Norcross said. “The opioid epidemic continues to impact communities in South Jersey and throughout our country, and we must continue working together across all levels of government to address this crisis. In Congress, I am continuing to fight to expand access to evidence-based treatments like methadone through my Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act that will improve treatment and change lives.”
Camden Coalition is a multidisciplinary nonprofit working to improve care for people with complex health and social needs in Camden and across the country. It works to advance the field of complex care by implementing person-centered programs and piloting new models that address chronic illness and social barriers to health and well-being.
“Through our work with people with complex medical and social conditions, we see the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic firsthand,” said Dawn Wiest, director of Research and Evaluation for the Camden Coalition. “The needs are particularly acute within the criminal justice system, where individuals are most vulnerable to experiencing an overdose. Our study of the County’s MOUD program shows that program participants were 38% less likely to experience an overdose within 365 days after their release. In other words, the program is saving lives – producing meaningful reductions in post-release overdoses, even among those at the highest risk.”
The Camden County Jail has been described as a national model by the White House and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. Copies of the report will be available on site and will be posted on www.camdencounty.com.
“Cooper University Health Care’s Center for Healing has worked closely with Camden County, the Camden County Correctional Facility, the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, and other community organizations for many years to help address the devastating opioid epidemic and establish and support evidence-based treatment services throughout the community,” said Rachel Haroz, MD, Center Head of Cooper’s Center for Healing. “We are encouraged by the results of this new analysis which demonstrates that this multi-faceted medication for addiction treatment approach is making a difference in reducing overdose deaths and supporting incarcerated individuals in their path to recovery.”
Based on the results the Camden County Correctional Facility will continue to embrace and move forward with comprehensive medically assisted treatment policies that provide a continuity of care for the residents of the institution.