Big Sky Roundup

Montana Department of Corrections receives $780K grant for opioid treatment programs

By: - August 10, 2022 12:08 pm

Montana Department of Corrections

The Montana Board of Crime Control gave the Montana Department of Corrections a $780,000 grant to help agencies support inmates with substance abuse disorders and implement programs to combat the opioid epidemic.

According to an Aug. 10 press release from the Department of Corrections, the grant is for the development of a Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program and runs from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. The grant will allow the DOC to create complementary programs to their current services and reimburse the department for medications, equipment and medication-assisted treatments.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to continue building on the work we’ve already been doing at our secure facilities to help inmates who are struggling with substance use disorders,” Health Services Bureau Chief Cindy Hiner said in a statement from the department. “We look forward to rolling out new evidence-based programming to help inmates in their recovery journey and hopefully keep them from returning to us.”

Substance Use Disorder treatment programs are available at all DOC facilities, the department said. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates 65 percent of inmates in U.S. prisons are dealing with substance use disorders. According to the press release, criminal possession of dangerous drugs was the top offense for DOC offenders of both sexes in fiscal year 2021.

“We’re honored that the Montana Board of Crime Control chose to award this grant to the Department of Corrections to help combat the opioid crisis in Montana,” DOC Director Brian Gootkin said in a statement. “Because of this grant, we’ll be able to offer more services to individuals under our supervision through our Rehabilitation and Programs Division. These programs will help decrease drug offenses and better ensure offenders are successful when they transition back to Montana communities.”

During current DOC intake procedures, inmates are screened by addiction counselors to determine what level of care is needed. The level of care for patients can range anywhere from partial hospitalization, inpatient care, or medically managed intensive inpatient services, according to the news release.

Details are not out yet on what program changes the year-long grant will bring, but the DOC’s Health Services Bureau is finalizing the offerings, according to the department.

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Emily Tschetter
Emily Tschetter

Emily Tschetter is a junior studying journalism and political science at the University of Montana. She was born and raised in Billings and grew up surrounded with music between going to concerts and playing cello. She worked at the Montana Kaimin, University of Montana's independent student newspaper, as a news reporter last school year and will start as the news editor in the fall. In her free time Emily loves building up her vinyl collection, being overly critical of movies, going to cheap diners with friends and enjoying music whenever she can.