For persons with an opioid use disorder who are in the criminal justice system, the process of transitioning from jail or prison back to the community can be overwhelming. Within three months of release from custody, 75 percent of people who were in prison or jail with an opioid use disorder experience a relapse to opioid use. It is also alarming that incarcerated persons who are released to the community are between 10 and 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than the general American population—especially within a few weeks after reentering society.
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Treatment for opioid use disorder is a process that should be carefully managed by a patient and their health care team. This is especially true for women who are pregnant or have newborn children. Fortunately, medication-assisted treatment can be provided during pregnancy and after childbirth and this is often the safest treatment with the best outcome for baby and mother. To assist patients and care provides with learning about options and planning the treatment that is best for other and baby, SAMHSA has published Healthy Pregnancy Healthy Baby fact sheets.
One hundred fifteen Americans die every day from opioid overdose. Whether a person deliberately misuses a prescription opioid or uses an illicit drug such as heroin, these deaths are all preventable. It’s up to us—emergency medical personnel, healthcare professionals, and community members who witness and respond to overdoses—to learn what we can do to prevent opioid misuse.
Since 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued more than $1 billion in grants to support access to opioid-related treatment, prevention and recovery. We have also published resources to support prevention and treatment providers.