Maine DOC expands medication-assisted treatment program

The expansion plan will give access to the program for any MDOC resident identified as medically appropriate

By Sarah Calams

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Corrections has expanded its Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for residents of state correctional facilities who have opioid use disorder.

The program started in July 2019 as a pilot program in partnership with Wellpath. The program will expand this month, allowing more MDOC residents to become eligible for MAT. 

"We knew the best way to save lives and help our residents get on a path to recovery was to offer MAT, the standard of care for OUD," Deputy Commissioner Ryan Thornell said. "The key to beating this opioid epidemic is to offer quality treatment as soon as it's needed. MDOC's MAT program does just that, ensuring that individuals incarcerated can find recovery too."

The expansion plan will give access to MAT for any MDOC resident identified as medically appropriate. Access to the program will be given regardless of an individual's sentence length. 

"The significance of Maine's expansion cannot be overstated," said Michael Botticelli, former director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. "It's simple, access to treatment while incarcerated reduces mortality rates. All correctional settings should be working toward this. Maine will see the positive results of this unrestricted access, and I hope more correctional facilities follow suit."

MDOC will begin a phased-in approach, which will induct a new cohort of residents meeting medical eligibility every three months. 

"This is the right thing to do," MDOC Commissioner Randall Liberty said. "We're so pleased by the partnerships and dedication among so many to make this expansion happen."

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