CODAC’s opioid treatment program at state corrections facilities earns national accreditation

PROVIDENCE – CODAC Behavioral Healthcare’s medication-assisted treatment program at the R.I. Department of Corrections has earned its three-year accreditation from the National Council on Correctional Health Care.

The national certification allows the program to prescribe medication. The accreditation process requires applicants to meet 47 standards measured by surveyors who speak with inmates, clinicians, administrators and other staff, and examine records and documents related to the program.

The joint effort between CODAC and Rhode Island’s Department of Corrections is one of 14 programs nationwide to earn three-year accreditation from the NCCHC, said Leslie Bridgman, CODAC’s director of correctional services.

The program has set national protocols for the use of buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone to treat opioid addiction within prisons. Prior to the program, Rhode Island inmates with opioid use disorder who were behind bars for more than 60 days went through withdrawal without medication, according to CODAC. The organization maintains that without medication, inmates are at a higher risk of relapse and overdose once they are released.

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“This top-level, three-year award recognizes a groundbreaking opioid treatment program inside the Rhode Island Department of Corrections that has been called a national model and which is being duplicated across the country,” said Linda Hurley, CODAC’s CEO and president. “Most of all, we are proud that our partnership with the RIDOC is saving lives in Rhode Island.”