The federal government will allow states to use Medicaid funds to provide addiction treatment and other medical services for people in state jails and prisons, AP reports.
States will be encouraged to submit proposals about how to use funds from the joint federal-state low-income health insurance program for incarcerated people, Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, said this week. These states will have to provide mental health and substance use treatment.
Gupta said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will release its full guidance this spring. He added that by summer, all federal prisons will offer medications to treat substance use disorder.
Research has shown that the majority of people incarcerated in jails and state prisons meet the criteria for substance dependence. Formerly incarcerated people are much more likely to die in their first weeks after release compared with the average non-incarcerated person.
The leading cause of death for people newly released from incarceration is overdose. This is partly because tolerance to substances decreases when people do not use those substances during their incarceration.