Medication assisted treatment (MAT) in criminal justice settings as a double-edged sword: balancing novel addiction treatments and voluntary participation [2020]

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) provides an opportunity to address opioid addiction among justice-involved individuals, an often difficult to reach population. This potential has been increasingly recognized by agencies, policymakers and pharmaceutical companies. The result has been a marked increase in the number of drug courts, prisons and agencies in which MAT, notably with long-acting injectable medications, is offered. While this is a positive development, ensuring that vulnerable individuals are in a position voluntarily participation within the complex criminal justice environment is necessary. The unequal authority and agency inherent in the nature of these environments should be recognized. Therefore, rigorous protections, mirroring the goals of the consent processes required for medical or sociobehavorial research, should be employed when MAT is offered to protect individual autonomy.

Jordan M. Hyatt & Philipp P. Lobmaier
Health & Justice, volume 8, Article number: 7 (2020)