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County Jail expands methadone services


Last updated 11/8/2022 at 12:54pm

Warden Orlando Harper announced the Allegheny County Jail has expanded its methadone medication services as part of the jail’s Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for individuals who experience Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

In conjunction with Tadiso, the county’s contracted methadone provider, the jail now allows individuals who enter the facility with a confirmed methadone prescription to continue receiving methadone while incarcerated in the jail. Prior to the expansion, which began October 24, only pregnant people with a methadone prescription were eligible for continuation services.

“We understand that many of the individuals committed to our facility have a history of substance abuse, and we are committed to assisting their recovery in any way we can,” Warden Harper said. “The expansion of our methadone program will allow us to offer options to more individuals while they are under our care.”

Under the new expansion, Tadiso staff members will continue a person’s OUD treatment by administering methadone inside the facility during routine medication passes.

“Medication-assisted treatment saves lives,” said Renee Madden, a jail Deputy Health Services Administrator. “Expanding our methadone treatment services is a form of harm reduction and plays an important role in decreasing overdose deaths even after incarcerated individuals are released.”

There are currently more than 120 incarcerated individuals who receive some type of MAT at the jail.

“Medication-assisted treatment in all forms is a vital and valuable tool in substance use recovery,” said Todd Baumgardner, the jail’s Director of Substance Use Programs. “It is exciting that we are adding methadone to our already robust MAT program here at the Allegheny County Jail. With this addition we hope to promote continued recovery possibilities.”

All individuals entering the facility are medically screened as part of the intake process. The jail offers naltrexone and a variety of buprenorphine treatments for those who enter the facility with a prescription for those medications. Naltrexone is provided orally, then as a long-acting injection under the name Vivitrol, in preparation for release.

Individuals who suffer from OUD but do not have a valid prescription receive medically supervised withdrawal treatment and are offered substance use treatment. The detoxification protocol includes individuals having vital signs monitored daily, symptom assessments and being prescribed medication according to Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale standards for detoxification procedures. The facility also provides on-site one-on-one counseling as part of the MAT process.

The jail runs male and female drug and alcohol programs where individuals can participate in services if they meet the criteria for OUD. Medical, mental health and substance abuse teams create individualized treatment plans for incarcerated individuals and ensure those individuals are involved in their aftercare discharge plans.

Upon release, Narcan, an opiate overdose reversal medication, is provided free of charge to all formerly incarcerated individuals.


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