Northumberland County Jail

The Northumberland County Jail in Coal Township.

SUNBURY — Northumberland County received a $77,960 grant to support the county jail-based Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program to increase opioid use disorder services to individuals incarcerated in prisons and jails across the commonwealth.

The announcement was made on Monday by the Wolf administration. The grants are part of the $55.9 million federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant secured by the Wolf administration to bolster the state’s response to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.

“Implementing evidence-based treatments such as MAT in criminal justice settings is an overarching goal for the PA Department of Corrections,” said Corrections Sec. John Wetzel. “However, the rubber really meets the road at the county level, and I want to credit these counties for stepping up to impact individuals by providing this important treatment in their jails. PA DOC’s MAT Program Coordinator Steve Seitchik will work extensively with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Program to help expand its use and find new ways to increase MAT services to individuals incarcerated in prisons and jails across PA.”

Over the course of this funding, all grantees will be invited to participate in a state-of-the-art learning collaborative with both in-person and webinar components organized on a monthly basis. Learning collaborative events will include guidance and resources on topics such as avoiding diversion, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), workflow and protocol development, and referral planning/reentry.

Recipients will establish or increase opportunities to provide MAT in combination with CBT to individuals in county jails and upon release to the community. This model ensures that jails receive intensive individualized support but can also benefit from lessons learned in other jurisdictions. Participation in technical assistance, to the extent practicable, is a condition of this grant.

State agencies will be working closely with PrimeCare (in counties where they are the provider), and Vital Strategies to support robust expert technical assistance (TA) for grantee jails. TA will be provided in cooperation with Health Management Associates (HMA). HMA is a leading independent national research and consulting firm with extensive experience advising and supporting the use of medications for opioid use disorder in jails across the country.

In January 2018, Gov. Tom Wolf declared the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania a disaster emergency and continued supporting further MAT expansion within the DOC. For more information about the work the Wolf administration is doing to combat the opioid crisis, visit pa.gov/opioids.

—JUSTIN STRAWSER

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