The Sheriff's Office has joined a national grant program to expand medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder in jails.
The program -- the "Planning Initiative to Build Bridges Between Jail and Community-Based Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder" -- is a joint project of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and Arnold Ventures, a national philanthropy out of Houston, Texas.
Under the program, Arnold Ventures will spend $720,000 to help 15 communities implement medication-assisted treatment programs in their jails, including Clackamas County Jail. The Arnold Ventures grants will pay for a team of health care experts who have experience with substance use disorders and corrections to help design and implement plans for offering treatment medications.
The Sheriff's Office will receive guidance on providing opioid treatment, as well as scholarships for five staff members to attend trainings in Washington, D.C. During these trainings, Clackamas County Jail and Community Corrections employees will study treatment guidelines and medications to treat opioid addiction, including methadone and buprenorphine.
Clackamas County will also develop a plan with local health care officials to ensure people can access treatment after they’re released. The goal, according to the grant, is to "develop a comprehensive continuum of care model that targets the jail population and builds bridges between in-custody and community-based treatment."
Clackamas County is one of 15 jurisdictions nationwide to participate in the initiative. Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jenna Morrison, Jail Commander Lee Eby and Community Corrections Capt. Malcolm McDonald will work as part of the local planning team, along with personnel from Community Corrections, Clackamas County Health Centers and the jail's medical contractor, Naphcare.
"Our participation in this program fits perfectly with our existing efforts to help people who need treatment, not jail time," said Sheriff Craig Roberts. Those efforts include the Transition Center, an all-in-one location providing crucial support services to people leaving jail or prison.