Re: “Opioid treatment in jails can reduce crime and suffering” [Nov. 26, Opinion]:
Dorothy Bullitt speaks compellingly about the transformational impact of drug treatment in jail. We’ve seen this firsthand in King County. The King County jail forged the way for people to continue treatment as one of the first jails in the country to provide methadone for those entering the jail with opioid-use disorder.
Last year, the jail took an important step forward by continuing buprenorphine, another safe and effective medication, for people entering the facility with a prescription. Our Jail Health Services program has served over 500 patients already, ensuring treatment is not interrupted.
King County is excited to take the next step forward by expanding access to buprenorphine in the first quarter of 2020 for anyone who wants to start treatment in jail. Right now, we’re developing the systems to serve what we believe will be thousands of new patients with medications to treat opioid-use disorder every year in the largest county jail system in the state. Importantly, we will connect patients at discharge to providers in the community who can support them in continuing treatment along with connections to social supports as they transition back into the community.
Sean Moody, Director of Jail Health Services, Public Health — Seattle & King County