The University of Massachusetts Amherst

2018 PEP Fellow, Elizabeth Evans, published research on the effect of prescription treatments for opioid use disorder on incarceration featured in Medical Xpress.

When it comes to addressing the national opioid crisis, most of the research has focused on the physical health risks faced by people with opioid use disorder, such as overdose and infectious disease. For the first time, Elizabeth Evans, 2018 PEP Fellow, studied the impact of treating opioid use disorder on the risk for arrest and incarceration, comparing the effects of two different medications approved for the condition. Published in the journal Addiction, the new research found that, featured in Medical Xpress, over a period of five years, people with opioid use disorder taking either prescribed medication were less likely to be arrested and incarcerated than those with the disorder who were not taking the medication. "There has been very little examination of the impact on social outcomes of treating opioid use disorder," says Evans, assistant professor in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences and lead author of the paper. "We shifted the research focus to look at criminal justice outcomes and whether providing medication was related to the likelihood of arrest or incarceration over time." Research also featured in Managed Care, News Medical Life Sciences, and R & D Magazine.