Access to MAT: What Does it Mean for Maryland Counties?

With legislation recently passed by the Maryland General Assembly, providing inmates with access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for substance use disorders is a hot topic. HB 116, sponsored by Delegate Erek Barron, requires all county jails and the Baltimore City Detention Center to provide their inmates with access to the full range of MAT (e.g. buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone) within the next few years. Weber went through the implementation of MAT, including the screen process for potential participants and protocols for proper treatment. Panelists spoke about how the new law will affect county jail operations, what challenges and solutions are in store, and what it means for the health and welfare of inmates.

Moderated by the Honorable Senator Chris West, panelists included Mary Ann Thompson, Assistant Warden, St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center; Thomas J. Weber, Esquire, Chief Executive Officer, PrimeCare Medical, Inc.; Mary Lou McDonough, Director, Prince George’s County Department of Corrections; and Jack Kavanaugh, Director, Howard County Department of Corrections.

Thompson introduced the new MAT law and explained how St. Mary’s County is preparing to implement its requirements. McDonough spoke about how Prince George’s County has had the MAT program running since March and discussed the challenges and triumphs of the initiative. The panel concluded with Kavanaugh, who spoke to partnerships with local treatment providers, transportation issues, and challenges with staffing and space.

The 2019 MACo Summer Conference – “Winds of Change” on August 14-17 focused on the changes being seen at every level of government and constituent services and how counties are harnessing that momentum for the good of all Marylanders.