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Boulder Sheriff, DA Sign National Letter in Support of Medication-assisted Treatment for Inmates

April 6, 2019

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle and District Attorney Michael Dougherty were among 58 law enforcement officials to sign a national letter in support of expanding the use of medication-assisted treatment for inmates with opioid addictions.

The sign-on letter , dated Wednesday, was organized by Fair and Just Prosecution and the Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

In the letter, officials say inmates who are allowed to use medications like methadone are more likely to stop using opioids and less likely to relapse than those who use an abstinence-based treatment.

The letter also says inmates being released from jail should be provided with naloxone and continuing care.

“For too long we have tried to punish people into abstaining from drugs rather than expanding access to strategies that work, like medication-assisted treatment,” Fair and Just Prosecution Executive Director Miriam Krinsky said in a statement.

“Requiring people to be cut off from medically assisted treatment while in custody flies in the face of proven best practices and increases fatal overdoses when people reenter the community. It’s sit me for a different way forward — one that provides individuals with a healthy recovery plan and keeps communities safer and healthier.”

Pelle and Dougherty were among four Colorado officials to sign the letter, along with Denver District Attorney Beth McCann and former Colorado Department of Corrections Officer Carrie Roberts.

“The Boulder County Jail recognizes the importance of MAT programming in the correctional setting to improve treatment outcomes, reduce recidivism and save lives,” Pelle wrote.

“We continue treatment for inmates who are already in a MAT program upon their arrival, assess their needs and refer them to treatment, educate them and provide nalaxone kits for inmates at risk of overdose upon release.

“We are actively working to implement a comprehensive Medication-Assisted Treatment program as early as summer 2019.”

Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, byarsm@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/mitchellbyars