Brown Receives $10.8M Grant to Develop Opioid Treatment in Criminal Justice System

Brown University, a NEC member, has been awarded a $10.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help design and implement a substance abuse treatment program for individuals in the criminal justice system. The grant is one of 12, totaling $155 million, issued by the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Rosemarie Martin, an assistant professor in Brown’s School of Public Health and lead investigator on the grant, shared that the pilot project is designed to remedy a crucial gap in current treatments for opioid use disorder (OUD) among people in the correctional system. Brown’s research has shown that individuals in the criminal justice system are prone to overdose; 21 percent of Rhode Island’s fatal overdose victims in 2015 had been incarcerated sometime in the two years before their deaths. Brown will partner with the R.I. Department of Corrections, fellow NEC member the University of Rhode Island, and CODAC Behavioral Healthcare to implement the pilot program in their state.

The university’s research team will work with parole and probation officers to train them to identify people in need of treatment and help them obtain that treatment. Community treatment partners will also be trained by the research team to learn how to work with the criminal justice system’s population. The effectiveness of the program will be evaluated by treatment engagement, rearrests, continued drug use, and non-fatal and fatal overdoses.

“For years, the standard of care for OUD in the criminal justice system was insufficient and in need of reform, but that is now starting to change,” said Ms. Martin, in a statement. “With this grant, we’re extending that same kind of evidence-based intervention to a similarly vulnerable population of people on parole and probation.”

The Council congratulates Brown on securing this grant and for their commitment to addressing the opioid epidemic.

Read more in Providence Business Journal.

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