The state is working with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office to develop a blueprint for establishing medication-assisted opioid treatment programs inside Maine county jails.
Officials said they are collaborating on a set of guidelines that they plan to share in the fall with sheriffs, who independently oversee the state’s local lockups.
The move signals the first unified effort to push for the wider availability of such medications inside Maine’s local correctional facilities, where they are mostly banned or severely limited despite high rates of opioid addiction among the state’s incarcerated population.
Implementing these programs could still be a long way off, officials said. It will be up to individual sheriffs to find the funding, adopt the protocols and ultimately decide whether to offer the programs.