Panel on Medication-Assisted Treatment for Heroin and Other Opioid Abusing Offenders

October 3, 2007
Washington, DC

Meeting Objectives

The five panelists in this 2-hour presentation discussed the use of opioids and treatment options for offenders who are incarcerated or under supervision in the community. Approximately 68 percent inmates report being regular drug users, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Given such a high level of substance abuse, treatment is a necessary consideration.

Counseling and other non-medication treatment therapies can be successful, but medication such as methadone and buprenorphine are often prescribed as well.

The discussion raised several issues:

  • Treatment philosophy of complete abstinence (clean and sober).
  • Appropriateness of short-term (buprenorphine) vs. long-term (methadone) regimens.
  • Heroin (including injection drug) vs. other opioid (prescription drug) abusers.
  • Nonclinical problems of compliance and improper use (boosting with alcohol and other drugs).

All of these issues affect the relapse and recovery of offenders and consequently their recidivism and return to the community.


  • Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., Commissioner of Health, and Chair of the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council, for the City of Baltimore
    Advances in Substance Abuse Treatment and the Impact on the Criminal Justice System
  • Gregory C. Warren, M.A., M.B.A., Director of Substance Abuse Services, Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
    An Opioid Treatment Program at the Baltimore City Detention Center
  • Carol D. Shropshire, C.A.S.A.C., Administrator of Addiction Medicine, Prison Health Services, Inc. (Contractor), New York City Department of Health Mental Health and Correctional Health Services
    Treatment of Opioid Dependence: Buprenorphine vs. Methadone in New York City Jails
  • Lisa A. Marsch, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Technology and Health at NDRI, and Research Scientist at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City
    Treatment of Heroin or Other Opiate Addiction in Adolescents
  • Robert Lubran, M.S., M.P.A., Director of Division of Pharmacologic Therapies, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration


Linda Truitt, Senior Social Science Analyst
Phone: (202) 353-9081

Date Modified: May 12, 2010