Miriam Hospital receives grant to study RI DOC opioid program

By: Melissa Randall

Email: news@abc6.com

Twitter: @abc6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Miriam Hospital has been awarded a major federal grant to study the impacts of an innovative program meant to help inmates get clean and stay clean.

“This program, I think, is really leading the way,” said Alex Macmadu, the senior research assistant on the project.

Macmadu, who works within The Center for Prison Health and HumanRights will be part of the group evaluating medication assisted treatment at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. The announcement of the grant comes as Rhode Island and the rest of the country confront a deadly opioid abuse problem.

“People who were incarcerated have an incredibly high risk of over dose once they are released,” she explains. “This program is intended to get them into treatment, keep them in treatment and help to reduce the rates of overdose.”

The program, which is the first of its kind in a state–wide correctional facility, has garnered national attention. That included a 20–16visit from then White House Drug Czar Michael Botticelli.

“We know that if we provide good treatment for propel who are incarcerated that they are less likely to recidivate in the criminal justice system, they are more likely to stay engaged in treatment,” he told reportersduring that visit one year ago.

But breaking the cycle won’t be easy. The $215,157 from the National Institutes of Health will be put towards optimizing the program.

“We think that it’s going to be successful but once we have this evidence then hopefully this program can be replicated at other correctional facilities across the country,” said Macmadu.

Researchers expect their findings will be complete in two years time.

© WLNE-TV 2017