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Middlesex Sheriff’s Office MATADOR Program Recognized as National Best Practice

Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian

Atty. Paul King

 BILLERICA - In a joint publication released on Monday by the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC), the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Medication Assisted Treatment and Directed Opioid Recovery (MATADOR) Program was highlighted as one of only five national best practices for providing medication assisted treatment (MAT) in jails.

The publication, Jail-Based Medication-Assisted Treatment: Promising Practices, Guidelines and Resources from the Field, was released as jails and houses of correction across the country look to expand in this area. The Middlesex Sheriff's Office has previously been recognized as a Center of Innovation by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) for the MATADOR program.

“I am proud the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office is recognized as a national leader and welcome the opportunity to share our work in the fight to save lives and improve public safety,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian. “With the implementation of MAT in jails, Sheriffs are innovating by providing new programs to treat addiction and reduce future incidents of crime.”

The MATADOR Program began in 2015 as Middlesex County continued to witness a rise in overdose deaths linked to the opioid crisis.  With a decade of experience studying and implementing public policies to combat the effects of increased opioid use, Sheriff Koutoujian initiated MATADOR to utilize incarceration as a window of opportunity to address the factors that led to criminal behavior, including drug use. 

Two years after the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office began its MAT program, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released its Chapter 55analysis which confirmed the critical importance MAT in jails. The report found that individuals leaving incarceration are 120 times more likely to succumb to a fatal overdose post release compared to the rest of the adult population. 

“Combatting the opioid epidemic demands new ideas and thinking throughout all areas of government,” Koutoujian said. “We stand ready to assist our colleagues in their efforts to implement MAT programs that will continue to drive innovation in this area.”

MATADOR participants have been classified at a 90% risk of reoffending -- as determined by a risk assessment tool -- demonstrating that the 23% recidivism rate among participants is clear evidence it is saving lives and reducing crime.


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