A Friends Research Institute research scientist, Dr. Timothy Kinlock is among the first in the nation to receive National Institutes of Health stimulus funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The two-year, approximately $1,000,000 grant will support at least seven jobs and the research of investigators in Baltimore who will be collaborating with investigators nationwide to examine ways to improve access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for newly released prisoners with histories of opioid addiction. The need for access to MAT for newly-released inmates is particularly urgent given that most such individuals do not receive drug treatment during incarceration or upon release and typically resume heroin use and criminal activity within one month of re-entry to the community, increasing the risk for overdose death, HIV infection, and re-incarceration. The recovery act seeks to create or save more than 3.5 million jobs over the next two years.
This study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, will involve a multidisciplinary team of researchers. The Principal Investigator, Dr. Timothy Kinlock, a criminologist, is a leading US researcher in the field of pharmacotherapy among patients in the criminal justice system. He has studied every approved medication for the treatment of opioid dependence among prisoners or parolees and probationers, including buprenorphine, LAAM, methadone, and naltrexone. Dr. Michael Gordon, a co-investigator, has worked closely with Dr. Kinlock since 1999, having served as Project Manager/Co-Investigator on Dr. Kinlock’s study of prison-initiated methadone, the first randomized clinical trial in the US of pre-release methadone treatment. Dr. Robert Schwartz, has collaborated with Drs. Kinlock and Gordon on the above-mentioned investigations of opioid agonist treatment among prisoners and recently completed a NIDA-funded study showing the effectiveness of interim methadone maintenance. The investigators have forged a long-term working alliance with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and community treatment providers to introduce and implement pharmacological interventions into correctional settings and programs for offenders with histories of opioid dependence. Given the near absence of pharmacological treatment within correctional institutions in the United States and the substantial numbers of drug-dependent offenders entering and leaving institutional settings, the presently proposed research team can add significantly with regard to engaging correctional settings in the adoption of medication-assisted treatment.
Building on their past work, the investigators will examine the impact of an established implementation strategy linking correctional case managers with MAT program counselors to improve access to MAT in the community for newly released inmates. They will examine whether MAT programs who use this enhanced strategy will result in a greater percentage of treatment entry and duration of treatment for newly released inmates compared to MAT programs that do not use this strategy. The intervention has the potential to reduce the risk to public safety and health, and results of this study may be of practical value to administrators and line staff of both correctional institutions and drug abuse treatment programs and can be used to overcome barriers to community treatment entry.