Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution Programs in Jails and Prisons

People exiting jail or prison are at very high risk for opioid-related overdose. Opioid-related overdose is the most frequent cause of death among people recently released from prison.

The risk of overdose is high for people exiting jail or prison for a number of reasons, including:

  • Many people are opioid-dependent when they enter jail or prison.
  • Opioid tolerance decreases while incarcerated because people may not have access to opioids—whether illicit or prescribed—in jail or prison.
  • People exiting jail or prison who start using opioids again may use the same dose that their body tolerated before they were incarcerated. Post incarceration, this dose can be toxic because of loss of opioid tolerance while in jail or prison.

Research has shown that Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) programs, including those located in jails and prisons, save lives.

A Primer for Implementation of OEND Programs in Jails and Prisons

To support implementation of OEND programs in the unique features of jails and prisons to help prevent opioid-related overdose deaths a Primer was developed by RTI International, in collaboration with Harm Reduction Coalition.

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