County Jail Receives $150,000 For Medication-Assisted Opioid Treatment

The Bucks County Correctional Facility. Credit: Tom Sofield/

The Bucks County Correctional Facility will receive funding to support a medication-assisted treatment program to aid inmates dealing with opioid use disorder.

Bucks County is receiving $150,000 through the state, which is drawing from $55.9 million in federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant. Statewide, $1.2 million was awarded for medication-assisted treatment programs at county jails.

Here’s how the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections describes the program:

Over the course of this funding, all grantees will be invited to participate in a state-of-the-art learning collaborative with both in-person and webinar components organized on a monthly basis. Learning collaborative events will include guidance and resources on topics such as avoiding diversion, cognitive behavioral therapy, workflow and protocol development, and referral planning/reentry.

Recipients will establish or increase opportunities to provide medication-assisted treatment in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy to individuals in county jails and upon release to the community. This model ensures that jails receive intensive individualized support but can also benefit from lessons learned in other jurisdictions. Participation in technical assistance, to the extent practicable, is a condition of this grant.

State agencies will be working closely with PrimeCare (in counties like Bucks where they are the provider), and Vital Strategies to support robust expert technical assistance for grantee jails. Technical assistance will be provided in cooperation with health management associates. Health management associates is a leading independent national research and consulting firm with extensive experience advising and supporting the use of medications for opioid use disorder in jails across the country.

“Implementing evidence-based treatments such as medication-assisted treatment  in criminal justice settings is an overarching goal for the PA Department of Corrections,” said Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel.  “However, the rubber really meets the road at the county level, and I want to credit these counties for stepping up to impact individuals by providing this important treatment in their jails.”

The state has already used a medication-assisted treatment program in their correctional facilities.

“We have seen inmates’ lives changed through the expansion of medication-assisted treatment at the state level, and it is our hope that those same results will be realized at the county level as well,” said Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Program Secretary Jen Smith.

Armstrong, Cambria, Franklin, Lawrence, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northumberland, and Washington counties are the eight other jails that will also receive state funding for medication-assisted treatment program.

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