Evans Shares Expertise with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Associate professor of health promotion and policy Elizabeth Evans shared her expertise to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at its meeting on “Treatment of Mental Health including Substance Use Disorders in Prison Settings.” Held Nov. 29- Dec. 1, the meeting provided a forum to examine good existing practices, explore strategies, and expand scientific evidence in the treatment of mental health including substance use disorders in prison settings.

Elizabeth Evans
Elizabeth Evans

The UNODC notes that a “high number of people with drug use disorders and other mental health disorders are in prison or in forensic hospitals at some point in their lives and a high number of prisoners have a history of mental health or substance use disorders. Effective services need to be offered for this population, when non-custodial alternative can be applied, in line with the principle of equity such services should be at least of the same standard as respective health services in the community. In addition to inputs on existing practices received from UN Member States, UNODC has conducted a systematic literature review to identify effective interventions for treatment of mental health including substance use disorders in prison settings and forensic hospitals.”

Evans is the co-principal investigator of a $10 million Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) research project examining a pilot opioid treatment program for jail detainees in seven Massachusetts counties. She is among the dozens of researchers nationwide who are examining the impact of evidence-based medications for opioid use disorder, behavioral interventions, digital therapeutics and patient-centered treatments.