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Hampden Hosts Sheriffs From Arkansas, Ohio

Hampden Sheriff Nick Cocchi and his team hosted Sheriff Eric S. Higgins from the Pulaski County, Arkansas Sheriff's Office and Sheriff-elect Christopher Clark from the Clark County Sheriff's Office, Ohio and their staff for a Jail-Based Medication Assisted Treatment Peer Mentor site visit last week.

The Hampden County MAT program pairs counseling and behavioral therapy along with access to all three FDA-approved addiction medications for treating substance use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone.

“The MAT program helps people coming into our custody maintain these critical prescriptions without a fear of having to unnecessarily go through withdrawal,” Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi said. “At the same time, it helps current inmates and substance use disorder clients maintain abstinence from illicit drugs and ensures they return to the community with the best chances of avoiding an overdose and transitioning into long-term recovery. Offering this program and these medications is the humane and right thing to do if we truly want to help people battling addiction-related issues. We're proud to share what we've learned to see more people being helped across the country.”

Since 2021, HCSO's Health Services Department has served as a peer mentor through a grant-supported Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Use Program. Led by Nursing Director Keisha Williams, Clinical Manager Danielle Mimitz, and their dedicated OTP team, the office mentors correctional facilities nationwide in OTP implementation and enhancement.

During their visit, Sheriff Higgins, Sheriff-elect Clark, and their teams explored Hampden's facilities, learned about the programs, and engaged with staff on data collection and best practices.

Sheriff Higgins' facility is featured on the Netflix documentary, “Unlocked, a Jail Experiment.”

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