A randomized controlled trial of prison-initiated buprenorphine: Prison outcomes and community treatment entry
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DepartmentSchool of Humanities and Social Sciences
Citation of Original PublicationGordon, M. S., Kinlock, T. W., Schwartz, R. P., Fitzgerald, T. T., O’Grady, K. E., & Vocci, F. J. (2014). A randomized controlled trial of prison-initiated buprenorphine: Prison outcomes and community treatment entry. Drug And Alcohol Dependence, 14233-40. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.05.011
Background Buprenorphine is a promising treatment for heroin addiction. However, little is known regarding its provision to pre-release prisoners with heroin dependence histories who were not opioid-tolerant, the relative effectiveness of the post-release setting in which it is provided, and gender differences in treatment outcome in this population. Methods This is the first randomized clinical trial of prison-initiated buprenorphine provided to male and female inmates in the US who were previously heroin-dependent prior to incarceration. A total of 211 participants with 3–9 months remaining in prison were randomized to one of four conditions formed by crossing In-Prison Treatment Condition (received buprenorphine vs. counseling only) and Post-release Service Setting (at an opioid treatment center vs. a community health center). Outcome measures were: entered prison treatment; completed prison treatment; and entered community treatment 10 days post-release. Results There was a significant main effect (p=.006) for entering prison treatment favoring the In-Prison buprenorphine Treatment Condition (99.0% vs. 80.4%). Regarding completing prison treatment, the only significant effect was Gender, with women significantly (p<.001) more likely to complete than men (85.7% vs. 52.7%). There was a significant main effect (p=.012) for community treatment entry, favoring the In-Prison buprenorphine Treatment Condition (47.5% vs. 33.7%). Conclusions Buprenorphine appears feasible and acceptable to prisoners who were not opioid-tolerant and can facilitate community treatment entry. However, concerns remain with in-prison treatment termination due to attempted diversion of medication.