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Mass. Jails Expand Use Of Medication To Treat Opioid Addiction

Massachusetts sheriffs are expanding use of opioid addiction medications in county jails to comply with a new state law.

Sheriffs, health officials and lawmakers gathered Thursday at the State House to discuss a recently launched pilot program at seven county correctional systems.

Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association President Peter Koutoujian said participating jails are now offering all three federally-approved opioid treatment medications: methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. The efforts were mandated under a broader opioid bill lawmakers approved last year.

Koutoujian, the Middlesex sheriff, said the pilot launched Sept. 1 and already has about 100 participants. Jails in Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties are participating.

The Massachusetts Department of Correction is also working to expand use of the medications in state prisons. They're already widely offered in Rhode Island and Vermont correctional facilities.

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