Jail-based reentry programming to support continued treatment with medications for opioid use disorder: Qualitative perspectives and experiences among jail staff in Massachusetts

Int J Drug Policy. 2022 Nov;109:103823. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2022.103823. Epub 2022 Aug 19.


Background: Individuals with opioid use disorder released to communities after incarceration experience an elevated risk for overdose death. Massachusetts is the first state to mandate county jails to deliver all FDA approved medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). The present study considered perspectives around coordination of post-release care among jail staff engaged in MOUD programs focused on coordination of care to the community.

Methods: Focus groups and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 61 jail staff involved in implementation of MOUD programs. Interview guide development, and coding and analysis of qualitative data were guided by the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS) framework. Deductive and inductive approaches were used for coding and themes were organized using the EPIS.

Results: Salient themes in the inner context focused on the elements of reentry planning that influence coordination of post-release care including timing of initiation, staff knowledge about availability of MOUD in community settings, and internal collaborations. Findings on bridging factors highlighted the importance of interagency communication to follow pre-scheduled release dates and use of bridge scripts to minimize the gap in treatment during the transition. Use of navigators was an additional factor that influenced MOUD initiation and engagement in community settings. Outer context findings indicated partnerships with community providers and timely reinstatement of health insurance coverage as critical factors that influence coordination of post-release care.

Conclusions: Coordination of MOUD post-release continuity of care requires training supporting staff in reentry planning as well as resources to enhance internal collaborations and bridging partnerships between in-jail MOUD programs and community MOUD providers. In addition, efforts to reduce systemic barriers related to unanticipated timing of release and reinstatement of health insurance coverage are needed to optimize seamless post-release care.

Keywords: EPIS framework; Jails; Medication for opioid use disorder; Opioid use disorder; Post-release coordination of care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Buprenorphine* / therapeutic use
  • Drug Overdose* / drug therapy
  • Drug Overdose* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Jails
  • Massachusetts
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy


  • Buprenorphine