August 10, 2023 by
Lucy Gardner Carson
Elias Klemperer, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology and psychiatry
(AUGUST 10, 2023) A study led by principal investigator Elias Klemperer, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology and psychiatry, found that Vermont’s medication program for incarcerated people with opioid use disorder has helped reduce overdoses after release, according to VTDigger.
When a person leaves prison, they’re at a higher risk of overdose than the average person, Klemperer said — anywhere from 10 times to more than 100 times higher, according to different studies, he said, and that’s part of why medication-assisted treatment is so important in prisons.
“We were able to see a pretty substantial reduction in overdoses after Act 176 was implemented,” Klemperer said in an interview. But, he noted, “the beneficial effects were somewhat reduced” during COVID-19 — a trend reflected nationwide, he said.
This first published analysis of the Vermont Department of Corrections’ medication-assisted treatment, co-authored by researchers at the University of Vermont, the corrections department, and the state’s Agency of Human Services, was published in September’s edition of the Journal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment. In addition to Klemperer, the UVM researchers included John Brooklyn, M.D., clinical associate professor of family medicine, and Abigail Crocker, Ph.D., research associate professor of mathematics and statistics.
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