St. Louis County Executive announces $2 million grant for Inmate Opioid Treatment

Federal Funding is based on the County’s Opioid Action Plan

Clayton, MO (August 4, 2018)- St. Louis County’s Department of Public Health has been provisionally awarded $2 million in funding over two years from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to individuals incarcerated at the county jail who are struggling with opioid addiction.

“This is an important step in our ongoing efforts to reduce recidivism and fight opioid abuse in St. Louis County,” County Executive Steve Stenger said. “We are the first and only entity in Missouri that has received funding for treatment services in the corrections setting. The funds, combined with the expertise of our Public Health Department, will help us accomplish the goals set in our Opioid Action Plan–adequate treatment and recovery for patients.”

Approximately 1500 to 2000 people with Opioid Use Disorder per year are booked into the Saint Louis County Buzz Westfall Justice Center (14-19% of those incarcerated). Individuals released from incarceration are at highest risk for overdose. The major goal of this project is to increase access for individuals with Opioid Use Disorder to MAT through direct service delivery and improved care transition to community-based care. Upon release, a comprehensive discharge plan will be prepared for each individual along with a referral system linking them to ongoing treatment in county health centers.

Studies of medication-assisted treatment implementation in jails and prisons have shown a 61%- 85% decrease in overdose death among those recently released on MAT. Additionally, there is anecdotal evidence that MAT can improve security by reducing demand for illegal opioids.

St. Louis County worked with the Missouri Department of Mental Health to secure the funding as part of the Missouri State Opioid Response Grant. Implementation will begin in October at the County Justice Center.