Researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate are among the scientists at a dozen institutions nationwide that will form the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN), an ambitious, $155 million effort to improve opioid addiction treatment in criminal justice settings, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced.
Over the next five years, researchers will study the impact of evidence-based medications for opioid use disorder, behavioral interventions, digital therapeutics and patient-centered treatments in 15 states and Puerto Rico. They will focus on a range of justice settings, including jails, drug and problem-solving courts, policing and diversion, and probation and parole.
In Massachusetts, co-principal investigators Dr. Elizabeth Evans, assistant professor of health promotion and policy in the University of Massachusetts-Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, and Dr. Peter Friedmann, associate dean of research at the UMass Medical School-Baystate and chief research officer at Baystate Health, will receive a $10 million grant from the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse to examine a pilot opioid treatment program for jail detainees in seven Massachusetts counties.
“We are at a historical turning point,” says Dr. Evans. “Jails are shifting from the traditional focus on public safety to a public health model, where they see their role as helping people avoid overdose, death and also reincarceration.”
JCOIN is part of the NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative to accelerate science-based solutions to the national opioid public health crisis.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 02