Jails seeking to begin individuals on methadone treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) during the COVID-19 pandemic now have one less barrier to overcome. Under the crisis exceptions in place during the pandemic, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will allow Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) providers across the country to observe in-person physicals conducted by certain* jail medical staff over telehealth for methadone inductions.
Steps taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 in juvenile detention centers and residential facilities by reducing the number of youths in confinement statewide were successful in many cases and could be a model of how to go forward after the virus recedes, according to a report released Thursday.
In collaboration with the Michigan Center for Youth Justice (MCYJ), the Wayne State University School of Social Work Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) surveyed juvenile court and facility staff to better understand the measures taken by juvenile justice professionals, the governor, and the Michigan Supreme Court in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
When asked what county jails are for, the average Michigander will likely say “public safety.” So might the average lawmaker. Jails are there to protect the community, right?
Before the Michigan Jails Task Force released its report earlier this year, it wasn’t well known that tens of thousands of people were jailed in our state for driving on a suspended license or for unpaid tickets, fees, and child support. It wasn’t well known that rural counties in our state were outpacing Wayne and Kent Counties in jail population and seeing extremely high rates of serious mental illness among those jailed.
Somewhere along the way, as Michigan’s jails tripled in size, their purpose got muddled. They became a tool for debt collection. A tool for responding to homelessness, mental illness, and addiction.
LANSING — County officials, medical professionals and the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice will meet through an online summit May 5 to discuss their experiences with the Opioid Treatment Ecosystem (OTE) program in county jails.
In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) recognizes that this pandemic may exacerbate existing social, racial, and health disparities. This may be true for justice-involved individuals, especially those who are part of marginalized populations such as; African American/Black, Asian, Arab/Chaldean, Indigenous, Latinx, immigrant and low-income communities; people with disabilities and special health needs; and older adults. As such, the CBHJ is sharing information and recommendations from local, national, and global organizations related to the minimization of stigmas and biases during this crisis.
In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) recognizes that availability of and access to family and loved ones may decrease or be temporarily suspended. The change in programming may impact educational and recreational programs, mental health and substance misuse services and discharge planning (or connection to community-based services) that may have been provided by outside volunteers or service providers. At the same time, the acuity of physical and mental health issues is likely to rise. Strategies to maintain services within the facility and to maintain connections to family and courts can be enhanced by the use of technology (phone, internet) between the facility and community providers.
In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) recognizes that availability of and access to substance use treatment, including discharge planning and connection to community-based services, may decrease or be temporarily eliminated. As such, the CBHJ has compiled the following recommendations and information relating to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) for those who remain confined and continuity of care as individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) are released during this crisis and transition from jail into the community:
Role of MOUD and importance of continuity
Response to COVID-19
Online reovery meetings
In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) recognizes that availability of and access to jail-based behavioral health services (including mental health (MH) and substance use disorder (SUD) services) and discharge planning or connection to community-based services may decrease or be temporarily eliminated. At the same time, the acuity of mental health and substance misuse concerns among detainees is likely to rise. Strategies to maintain services within the jail and facilitate community discharge can be enhanced by the use of technology (e.g. phone or internet) between the jail and community providers. As such, the CBHJ has compiled the following recommendations and information relating to telehealth and technology to address gaps in service delivery:
Expansion of Qualifying Remote Technology
Activities Supported Through Remote Technology
Identification and Prioritization of Need
Access to Video Visitation and Phone Calls
The number of Michigan counties stepping up to divert individuals with mental illness from county jails has grown by 42% since 2018 and that number is expected to continue to rise. The Wayne State University School of Social Work Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) began providing technical assistance to Stepping Up counties in May 2018 under a grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Michigan Mental Health Diversion Council (MMHDC).
News of these successes and the benefits of Stepping Up technical assistance is quickly spreading across the state. Between October 2019 and March 2020, seven counties have endorsed Stepping Up resolutions in order to become eligible for the technical assistance.