Criminal Justice Barriers to Treatment of Opioid Use Disorders in the United States: The Need for Public Health Advocacy [2019]

Expanding access to treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) is central to addressing the US overdose mortality crisis.

Numerous barriers to OUD treatment are encountered in criminal justice institutions and processes, with which people with OUD are disproportionately involved. OUD treatment access is severely limited in US corrections facilities, with few exceptions. Drug treatment courts, which in principle provide court-supervised treatment as an alternative to prison, have also unduly limited treatment options, particularly medication-assisted treatment.

The voice and expertise of health professionals are urgently needed to remove these barriers and ensure that criminally accused persons are systematically linked to the care they need.

Joanne Csete PhD, MPH
American Journal of Public Health, January 24, 2019
DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304852