Maryland is the First State to Require Medication-Assisted Treatment in State and Local Correctional Facilities

Maryland became the first state in the country to mandate that local detention centers provide medication assisted treatment to individuals in custody. We spearheaded the campaign to secure legislation in behalf of our clients who are focused on expanding access to opioid use disorder treatment and reduce overdose deaths. This success is part of a broader campaign to reduce stigma and support individuals who face barriers in obtaining treatment, housing, and employment.

Insights

How did this legislative campaign break ground in Maryland and lead the way for the rest of the country?

Public Policy Partners spearheaded the legislative initiative to require correctional facilities to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to incarcerated individuals with SB 846/HB 116 – Public Health – Correctional Services – Opioid Use Disorder Examinations and Treatment (Senator West/Delegate Barron/Senator West). The correctional field has been slow to embrace MAT as the standard of care in substance use disorder treatment. However, Maryland’s legislative success has created an important precedent for advocates in other states. Access to MAT in correctional facilities is a critical health equity issue, as Black and brown individuals are disproportionately incarcerated.

How did this success boost the profile of the client and lay the groundwork for future successes?

The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) was Public Policy Partners’ client on the MAT initiative. As a result of this legislative initiative, NCADD has become the primary partner for State and local corrections officials on substance use disorder issues. NCADD is the only non-governmental entity on the implementation workgroup for the legislation. NCADD has utilized its unique position to further advance policies to support equitable access to substance use disorder treatment.

What was Public Policy Partners strategy to achieve success?

Public Policy Partners was able to secure passage of the Senate Bill 846/HB 116 in just a single legislative session. Our success stems from our experience in negotiating complex issues that involve multiple government stakeholders. The MAT initiative was particularly complicated because it involved officials from 24 local jurisdictions and three State agencies. Given the breadth of the stakeholder community, Public Policy Partners cultivated bipartisan support across rural, urban, and suburban jurisdictions. We also engaged the Executive Branch early in the process, as securing a commitment to State funding was key to the legislation’s passage.