Sheriff Coppinger Dedicates Prison Addiction Treatment Center; More Than 300 Receiving Services

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger and Rep. Linda Dean Campbell at treatment center dedication in February, 2020. (Courtesy photograph.)

More than 300 offenders serving time in Essex County jails are now receiving drug addiction and treatment services.

Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger and state Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders dedicated the new Medication Assisted Treatment Center Thursday at the Middleton House of Correction.

“Today’s event celebrates the accomplishment of the newly completed physical space that delivers the described MAT services. Within the 1,600 square foot center, patients can receive all necessary interventions, treatment and services necessary for patient care and success. Since the start of MAT services at the Essex County Sheriff’s Department 339 inmates have become patients,” Coppinger said.

Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, who attended the dedication, said Coppinger is the first sheriff in Massachusetts to put such a program in place. She said, “This policy has already achieved remarkable results and is being tested for expansion in other correctional facilities. Its goal is to prevent the re-incarceration of those suffering from addiction.”

The Center is a dispensary designed in collaboration with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Massachusetts Drug Control Program to achieve compliance with regulatory and monitoring standards. Other space within the Center is used for medical and clinical care.

“Providing medication assisted treatment to individuals in Houses of Corrections allows individuals to start earlier on their path to recovery,” said Sudders, adding, “By providing more timely access to medical and behavioral health treatment and social supports to justice-involved individuals, we can promote their successful transition back into our communities and improve outcomes.”

In 2018, the legislature passed and Gov. Charlie Baker signed, an Act for the Prevention and Access to Appropriate Care and Treatment of Addiction. Essex and six other counties entered a four-year pilot program to fully examine the implementation of medication-assisted treatment within a correctional setting.

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