Camden County has the highest per capita rate of fatal overdoses across all New Jersey counties, and the epidemic has been particularly acute within the correctional system, where a large proportion of incarcerated individuals also suffer from opioid use disorder. To address this growing crisis, and against the backdrop of substantial shifts in New Jersey’s criminal justice landscape — including bail reform, legalization of marijuana, and the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic — the Camden County Correctional Facility (CCCF) implemented a medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) program in 2018.
This report, authored by Camden Coalition research team members Dawn Wiest, Aaron Truchil, and Qiang Yang, presents results from our evaluation of CCCF’s MOUD program. The evaluation team used multiple, integrated data systems along with MOUD program data, covering incarcerations that occurred from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020.
Our analysis found that CCCF’s MOUD program was successful in reducing overdoses among program participants leaving the jail compared to non-participants. It also showed that the program may have been most effective at reducing overdoses for the highest-risk group of individuals — those with two or more overdoses in the year prior to their incarceration.
The report also includes recommendations for improving the program and program evaluation in the future, including establishing explicit inclusion criteria for the program, addressing the racial imbalance we found in program participation, and improving data collection on recidivism, post-release MOUD treatment, and post-release overdose risk.