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Pilot Program Would Let Jail Inmates Receive Medications For Opioid Addiction

An organization representing Massachusetts sheriffs says it supports legislation that would require some inmates to receive medications to treat their drug addictions while locked up.

      Medication-assisted treatment for inmates at the Franklin County Jail began in 2016, and Sheriff Christopher Donelan said he welcomes the expansion to some other correctional centers in Massachusetts.

"Just a year after we started this program we saw a 60 percent reduction in opioid deaths in the county, so I know our program had some part in that," said Donelan.

The Massachusetts Sheriffs Association endorsed a two-year pilot program at five county jails. These facilities would provide to inmates medications such as methadone that treat opioid addiction.

    The program is one of several provisions in an opioid bill awaiting Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.