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Mich. county in-jail medication-assisted drug treatment program certified

Monroe County is the first in the state to reach full programming in treating inmates with opioid addiction


A clinician holds a 35 mg liquid dose of methadone, which is by far the most prescribed medication in Monroe County’s MAT program.

AP Photo/Kevin D. Liles

By Dean Cousino
Monroe News

MONROE, Mich. — Both the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Monroe Community Mental Health Authority have been recognized for the county’s in-jail medication assisted treatment program for inmates battling opioid addiction.

On Tuesday, county commissioners saluted the so-called Medicated Assisted Therapy (MAT) program after hearing a presentation by Matt Costello, program manager for the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at the Wayne State University School of Social Work on certification for the program. The county is the first in the state to have reached full programming in treating inmates, Costello said.

“This is the first county that has received certification,” Costello told the nine commissioners at the virtual meeting. “It’s a point of pride and a testament to those agencies that are partnering with the county.”

He said Sheriff Troy Goodnough and Capt. Julie Massengill, the jail administrator, have been “tremendous champions for these efforts. I want to share with you the great news about the work that is occurring in Monroe.”

He added the center has been working with the county for the past one and a half years to set up a treatment effort like MAT.

“We think there is a chronic medical need” for MAT, he said. “It’s about brain recovery. All lives have been impacted in a positive way.”

Goodnough initiated the grant-funded program while in his previous position as jail administrator, said Massengill, who succeeded him in the job. Through the grant, the sheriff partnered with the center, Community Mental Health Authority, Passion of Mind Healing Center and the medical provider for the program — Advanced Correctional Healthcare — to launch the program.

The program’s goal is to reduce recidivism, reduce post-release overdose deaths and support treatment plans, she said.

“The program starts with the Corrections’ Officers screening all persons booked into our facility to identify those with an opioid addiction,” she said in an email. “From there, we are able to ensure these inmates have access to specific medications used to treat opioid abuse and psychosocial services (group/individual therapy and relapse prevention therapy). Through our partners at Community Mental Health, we can establish a discharge plan to ensure these individuals have therapeutic support when released back into the community.”

Preliminary program data showed the number of inmates treated for methadone (68), suboxone (12) sublocade (4) and vivitrol (1).

Funding from the grant will continue through May, 2022, Costello said. State opioid response funds have been secured by Community Mental Health to support clinic staff.

He added multiple stakeholders are needed to “enhance the optimal well-being of individuals with” opioid addictions and substance use disorders who come in contact with the criminal and legal system.

Commissioner David Hoffman said he met earlier Tuesday with Corrections Officers about the program.

“The staff they have and the job they do, it’s amazing,” Hoffman said at the end of the meeting.

Commissioner Dawn Asper asked if faith-based counseling or peer counseling support is used in the program. Costello said peer support specialists are used.

County Administrator Michael Bosanac also praised the leadership provided by the staff in partnership with Community Mental Health.

“From a risk management standpoint, they provide necessary services to people who desperately need this,” Bosanac said. “Our mental health court is another (valuable) service we’re providing.”

Mark Brant, chairman of the board of commissioners, said it appeared the program is headed in the right direction and “getting all the cooperation you need from the sheriff.”

Next: Maine DOC expands medication-assisted treatment program

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