Sheriff’s Office Awarded $1.15 Million Federal Grant to Address Opioid Use Disorder

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a $1.15 million federal grant to help support justice-involved individuals with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and their families, Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian announced during a virtual press conference on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

The Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-based Program (COSSAP) grant was awarded to the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).  The funding will be used to launch the Involving Families in Treatment of Inmates with Opioid Use Disorder Project.

“This grant will help us enhance and expand our nationally recognized Medication Assisted Treatment And Directed Opioid Recovery (MATADOR) Program by supporting efforts to directly engage families of incarcerated individuals with Opioid Use Disorder,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “Families are critical supports for individuals with Opioid Use and all Substance Use Disorders.  By providing loved ones with crucial information, tools and even counseling, we believe we can improve outcomes for individuals, families and our communities.”

In addition to building off the existing MATADOR program, the project will also build on the MSO’s Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator initiative.  The Family Resource and Outreach Coordinator position was established earlier this year to engage families through outreach and education, as well work with correctional staff to respond to inquiries, requests and concerns raised by family members of individuals in the custody of the MSO.

As part of the Involving Families in Treatment of Inmates with Opioid Use Disorder Project, the MSO will:

• Develop and implement naloxone trainings and naloxone distribution for family members of incarcerated individuals with OUD.

• Establish a comprehensive family services program for incarcerated individuals with Substance Use Disorder (SUD).  This includes outreach to families, educational programs on SUD, family counseling and support groups.

The project will be advised and evaluated by Dr. Andrew Kolodny and Gail Strickler of Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

“Involving families in addiction treatment is a best practice supported by strong evidence,” said Dr. Kolodny.   “Opioid addiction is a life-threatening disease and improving outcomes means saving lives.”

Since its launch in 2015, over 900 individuals have participated in MATADOR.  There are currently nearly 420 active MATADOR participants, 340 of whom are receiving post-release care, while approximately 80 are presently receiving care at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.  Of all those who completed six months of post-release MATADOR services, just 13 percent recidivated within one year.

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