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Medication for Addiction Treatment

The current opioid crisis has highlighted the need for all treatment courts to adopt best practices related to medication for addiction treatment (MAT). A study published in 2012 found that 56% of treatment courts offer MAT, but 98% of treatment courts reported opiate-addicted participants. In the years since, significant progress has been made.

A 2020 Bureau of Justice Assistance report on drug court grantee best practices found that 94% of all federal grantees offer MAT services or referrals, including methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. Still, NADCP recognizes that continued training on this issue is critical.

As indicated in the Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards, the use of MAT when medically necessary should not prohibit any individual from gaining entry into treatment court, remaining in treatment court, or completing treatment court. Furthermore, research confirms the use of these medications improves program outcomes and is critical for reducing the risk of overdose. 

NADCP has made this issue a priority and provides the following resources to assist your program.

MAT Training for Treatment Courts

Free training for treatment courts on implementing MAT into their programs

MAT Online Course

A dynamic online MAT training developed in partnership with the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry

Naloxone

Take an online course and download NDCI's new naloxone fact sheet

MOUD Toolkit

Practical resources for programs implementing or preparing to implement a medication for opioid use disorder program

Request for Proposals

Sample questions for courts to use in drafting RFPs for treatment providers

Best Practice Standards

Several standards relate specifically to the application of MAT in drug court

MAT Pocket Guide for Drug Court Clinicians

A guide for counselors and therapists developed in partnership with the American Society of Addiction Medicine

MAT Pocket Guide for Drug Court Team Members

A guide for non-clinical drug court team members developed in partnership with the American Society of Addiction Medicine

MAT Pocket Guide for Drug Court Participants

A guide for drug court participants developed in partnership with the American Society of Addiction Medicine

Island County drug court rules medication helps with addictionby Jessie Stensland

Kody Schwiger gave up everything for heroin.

A low-point, he recalls, was a night in which he smoked the drug in a dark port-a-potty and started walking to his parents’ Clinton home. He had been kicked out, but sometimes broke into a camper trailer on the property and slept there.

It started raining hard as he walked, instantly soaking him to the bone. He made it to the trailer and smoked some more, even before taking off his wet clothes. After a night of shivering in the cold, he put the wet clothes back on in the morning and went off to find more of the drug.

Schwiger financed his habit by breaking into vacation homes and often spent nights in those homes, eating what food he could find.

He had no future. Heroin, he said, kept him in a delusional fog.

Schwiger was eventually arrested for breaking into a house and was facing a felony charge. He was accepted into Island County Superior Court’s adult Drug Court, a program in which participants are closely monitored and have to complete a treatment program and other requirements. If successful, the charge is erased from the participant’s record.

Schwiger didn’t do well, though not for lack of trying. He just couldn’t kick the habit. He was in danger of being expelled, so he finally agreed to try Suboxone, a medication that helps people get off heroin.

For Schwiger, it made all the difference. He was finally able to stop using and turn his life around. He graduated from adult Drug Court last Thursday in a ceremony attended by drug-court participants, judges, attorneys and court employees who worked with him every step of the way. They each cited Schwiger’s hard work and the medication as crucial to his success. Read the rest.