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Opioid Education Designed for Justice, Child Welfare Professionals

Health Management Associates (HMA) has developed a program aimed at helping justice and child welfare professionals understand opioid use disorder (OUD) and the use of medications for addiction treatment (MAT) during and after incarceration.

The County Touchpoints In Access To MAT For Justice-Involved Populations video training and website were developed with seasoned, well-known leaders from justice and child welfare systems and offer customized, impactful training materials and modules. All training materials are provided free of charge on the project training website.

The video-based training modules and resources focus on educating justice and child welfare professionals about addiction as a chronic brain disease, effective medications to treat opioid addiction, and their roles in supporting recovery and sobriety for their clients by supporting the use of MAT.

“Influencing a person with OUD to reduce or stop using MAT places the person at extreme risk for relapse, overdose, and death,” says Donna Strugar-Fritsch, BSN, MPA, CCHP, HMA project director. “This program is designed to break down misunderstandings and stigma by educating professionals so they can help clients access the resources they need and improve their lives.”

HMA’s team of opioid and justice system experts, along with stakeholder champions, developed the nine modules. Each module includes a comprehensive training manual, facilitator’s guide, learning objectives, pre- and postsession questions, training videos, and supplemental materials.

The program was designed and launched in the California justice system, with more than 1,400 professionals trained to date, but has wide application in states, counties, and local agencies. It can be offered in person or virtually and is suitable for public defenders, child welfare workers, district attorneys, probation officers, and judges in adult and youth/dependency courts. The program covers addiction and its treatment in the criminal justice and child welfare systems and is also appropriate for jail custody staff, jail health care and mental health providers, community leaders and local governance, and other justice and human service stakeholders.

“It is imperative that any entity that interacts with an individual with a substance use disorder is equipped with an understanding of the disease and the knowledge to either treat their disease or refer them to care,” says Marlies Perez, division chief with the California Department of Health Care Services. “This project enables entities to provide the necessary care for individuals in their communities.”

This project was funded by the California Department of Health Care Services with federal State Opioid Response resources. All project materials may be utilized for the sole purpose of providing OUD information. Such materials may be distributed with proper attribution, “From the California Department of Health Care Services, Health Management Associates, and California Health Policy Strategies.”

— Source: Health Management Associates