HELENA — Leaders with the Montana Department of Corrections have announced they’ve received a $780,000 grant to support their response to the opioid epidemic.
The Montana Board of Crime Control awarded the DOC the grant last month for a Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program. Department leaders said they’ll use the money to develop additional programs and help cover reimbursement for some medications, equipment and medication-assisted treatment. The DOC's Health Services Bureau is still finalizing their program offerings.
"We're honored the Montana Board of Crime Control chose to award this grant to the Department of Corrections to help combat the opioid crisis in Montana," DOC Director Brian Gootkin said in a statement. "Because of this grant, we'll be able to offer more services to individuals under our supervision through our Rehabilitation and Programs Division. These programs will help decrease drug offenses and better ensure offenders are successful when they transition back to Montana communities."
The DOC pointed to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, showing 65% of inmates in U.S. prisons are dealing with substance use disorders. In the last fiscal year, criminal possession of dangerous drugs was by far the most common offense for people in Montana DOC facilities.
The department says they already have substance use disorder treatment available at all their facilities. They say inmates are screened by addiction counselors when they are brought in, to determine what level of treatment they may need.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to continue building on the work we've already been doing at our secure facilities to help inmates who are struggling with substance use disorders," said Cindy Hiner, chief of the Health Services Bureau. "We look forward to rolling out new evidence-based programming to help inmates in their recovery journey and hopefully keep them from returning to us."
The grant will run from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.