PDAPS | Prescription Drug Abuse Policy System

COVID-19 Mitigation Laws at State Correctional Facilities Relating to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Focus Explore

According to provisional data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, estimated overdose deaths from opioids increased to over 75,000 in April 2021, up from around 56,000 the year prior. One population facing unique barriers to treatment and care are individuals with opioid use disorder who are involved in the criminal justice system. Prior to COVID-19, an estimated 65% of inmates were living with substance use disorder generally, while research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that only 5% of these inmates specifically with opioid use disorder in jail or prison settings receive medication-related treatment. This dataset examines whether state correctional facilities have explicitly established a medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) treatment program, and what the adjustments states have made to ensure access to continued treatment during the pandemic. Further, this dataset tracks state variance between different COVID-19 mitigation measures related to correctional facilities, like early release and visitation restrictions.  

This dataset is cross-sectional and displays key features of mitigation laws at state correctional facilities relating to MOUD treatment across all 50 states and the District of Columbia in effect as of September 1, 2021. The data were created with support from JCOIN grant U01DA050442 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse as part of the NIH HEAL Initiative.

Policy Questions