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Burlington County Freeholder Linda Hughes announced today that the Freeholder Board has taken another important step in helping residents overcome addiction as the County continues to actively address the scourge of substance abuse that is plaguing communities all across the nation.
During its meeting tonight, the Freeholder Board accepted a $200,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Corrections which will allow the County to fund a medication assisted treatment program for inmates in the Burlington County Jail who are suffering from substance abuse disorder.
“Approximately one-third of opioid users are funneled through correctional facilities each year. Inmates may be able to practice abstinence while incarcerated, but they struggle to sustain it upon release,” said Freeholder Hughes. “It is our hope that through this program we will get inmates battling opioid addiction much needed treatment and reduce relapse and recidivism.”
“Without medication assisted treatment, inmates suffering withdrawal symptoms have no relief. During a period of abstinence inmates lose their tolerance to a substance which increases their likelihood of an overdose if they return to using drugs after their release,” added County Warden Mildred Scholtz.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, medication assisted treatment can reduce the cravings and other symptoms associated with withdrawal by occupying receptors in the brain associated with using that drug, block the rewarding sensation that comes with using a substance, or induce negative feelings when a substance is taken. Studies have shown that through medication assisted treatment users have less danger of relapse.
“This new program will be a tremendous asset, and I know I speak for the entire Freeholder Board in saying that we are grateful to have this opportunity to bring this program to Burlington County to ensure that inmates who struggle with substance abuse can now receive the treatment that they need,” concluded Freeholder Hughes.
The medication assisted treatment program joins other Board initiatives such as the County’s Addiction Task Force, led by Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Freeholder Hughes, the reopening of Post House, Narcan training events, support group meetings, and prescription drug drop boxes that allow residents to dispose of unused medications.