In the ongoing battle against substance use disorders and the devastating consequences of the overdose epidemic, it’s imperative to explore every avenue for effective intervention and treatment. One area that demands immediate attention is the integration of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) into the judicial system. The failure to provide adequate treatment for substance use disorders within prisons and jails not only perpetuates the cycle of addiction but also exacerbates the overdose crisis.

The Missed Opportunity: Lack of MAT in Correctional Facilities

According to Jim Shaheen, CEO of New Season Treatment Center, “The absence of MAT in correctional facilities represents a missed opportunity to address the root causes of substance use disorders and reduce the likelihood of relapse upon release.” Shaheen’s sentiment underscores the urgent need for comprehensive treatment solutions within the judicial system.

Consequences of Neglect: How the Failure Fuels the Overdose Epidemic

Dr. Chip Roberts, chief medical officer at New Season Treatment Center, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing, “MAT has been proven to be one of the most effective interventions for opioid use disorder, yet its availability within prisons and jails remains woefully inadequate.” Dr. Roberts highlights the disparity between the evidence-based effectiveness of MAT and its underutilization in correctional settings.

The Impact of MAT Access in Correctional Facilities

The failure to provide MAT in prisons and jails contributes significantly to the overdose epidemic. Individuals who are incarcerated often have limited access to healthcare services, including treatment for substance use disorders. This lack of access increases the likelihood of relapse and overdose upon release, as individuals may return to their communities without the necessary support and resources to maintain their recovery.

Insights from the ACLU Report

“Over-Jailed and Un-Treated,” an ACLU report, sheds light on the dire consequences of this failure, revealing its impact not only on individuals but also on communities. The report underscores the financial burden imposed by untreated substance use disorders, including the increased use of emergency services and the strain on public resources. 

Moreover, it’s crucial to recognize that denying access to MAT constitutes a violation of basic human rights, as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

We must address these systemic barriers and advocate for the implementation of evidence-based treatment options to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their circumstances, have access to the care they need. The absence of evidence-based treatment options perpetuates cycles of addiction and incarceration, disproportionately affecting marginalized communities.

Justice and Equity: The Case for Integrating MAT in the Judicial System

By integrating MAT into the judicial system, we can break this cycle and save lives. MAT, which combines FDA-approved medications with counseling and behavioral therapies, has been shown to reduce opioid use, decrease overdose deaths, and improve overall quality of life for individuals with substance use disorders.

Moreover, implementing MAT in correctional facilities aligns with principles of justice and equity. Every individual, regardless of their circumstances, deserves access to evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. By providing MAT to incarcerated individuals, we not only address their immediate healthcare needs but also support their successful reintegration into society.

Take Action: Advocate for MAT Integration in Correctional Facilities

As advocates for comprehensive addiction treatment, New Season Treatment Center stands firmly behind the integration of MAT into the judicial system. We urge policymakers, lawmakers and stakeholders to prioritize this critical issue and take concrete steps towards implementing evidence-based solutions that will save lives and combat the overdose epidemic.

Together, we can transform the landscape of addiction treatment within the judicial system and ensure that every individual receives the support and care they need to overcome substance use disorders and build a brighter future. Join us in advocating for the integration of MAT into correctional facilities and help us make a difference in the lives of those struggling with addiction.

Contact us to explore how we can collaborate and implement MAT programs in your facilities. Together, let’s make strides toward a healthier justice system. Please reach out to Valerie Chiefari, Community Relations Manager, at