PORTLAND - Cumberland County Government announced on Thursday that it has been selected to participate in a competitive national program to expand Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid use disorder in jails.
The County will receive expert guidance on how to overcome barriers to providing opioid treatment, and scholarships for five staff members to attend trainings in Washington, D.C. Experts will work with jail officials to create treatment guidelines, manage administration of the medications, and educate jail staff about addiction.
Cumberland County will also develop a plan with local health care officials to ensure people can access treatment after they’re released. “Ultimately the support network waiting for these patients outside the jail is what will maintain their recovery,” said Cumberland County Manager Jim Gailey. “It’s critical that inmates in treatment have a seamless transition to continued medical treatment and counseling, employment, safe housing and peer support when they’re released if we want to see long-term success.”
Eight different entities representing corrections and recovery treatment signed on as committed partners to the County’s successful application for the competitive program. The Sheriff’s Office will work alongside Armor Correctional Health Services, Maine Pretrial Services, the state Department of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, The State Department of Corrections, Northern Light Health, The Co-Occurring Collaborative Serving ME, and the Portland Police Department.
The program is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and Arnold Ventures, a national philanthropy headquartered in Houston, Texas. In addition to supporting efforts to expand treatment for opioid use disorder, the philanthropy is also working to improve the criminal justice system through reforms to policing, pretrial, probation and parole, and reintegration services.
Jails are at the epicenter of the opioid crisis. Tens of thousands of people with opioid use disorder pass through the corrections system each year. But only about 30 of the 3,200 jails in the country offer the opioid medications methadone and buprenorphine, which have been shown by research to be the most effective forms of treatment. Most individuals instead go through detoxification, which lowers tolerance levels without curbing opioid cravings and dramatically raises the risk that people will overdose after they’re released.
Cumberland County is one of 15 jurisdictions that will participate in the Planning Initiative to Build Bridges Between Jail and Community-Based Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder. The selected sites span the country from Lewis and Clark County Detention Center in Helena, Montana, which has 80 beds, to Cook County Jail in Chicago, the largest single-site jail in the United States.
For more information about the Planning Initiative to Build Bridges Between Jail and Community-Based Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder, visit
About Arnold Ventures
Arnold Ventures is a philanthropy dedicated to tackling some of the most pressing problems in the United States. Founded by Laura and John Arnold in 2010, Arnold Ventures’ core mission is to improve lives by investing in evidence-based solutions that maximize opportunity and minimize injustice. The philanthropy has offices in Houston, New York, and Washington, D.C.
FULL LIST OF SELECTED SITES
NOTE: Optional map of selected counties available upon request.
Camden County, NJ
Chesterfield County, VA
Clackamas County, OR
Cook County, IL
Cumberland County ME
Durham County, NC
Eaton County, MI
Hudson County, NJ
Ingham County, MI
Jefferson County, KY
Lewis and Clark County, MT
Marion County, IN
Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines Parishes, LA
Shelby County, TN
St. Louis County, MN