BackgroundExtended-release buprenorphine (XRB) offers a novel approach to sustained monthly treatment for people who use opioids in criminal justice settings (CJS). This study explores the experiences of adults receiving XRB as a jail-to-community treatment.
Methods and findingsIn-depth qualitative interviews were conducted among adult participants with opioid use disorder (OUD; n = 16) who were recently released from NYC jails and maintained on XRB after switching from daily sublingual buprenorphine (SLB). Interviews elaborated on the acceptability and barriers and facilitators of XRB treatment pre- and post-release. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for content related to factors influencing XRB treatment uptake and community reentry. Important themes were grouped into systems, medication, and patient-level factors. Key systems-level factors influencing initiation of XRB in jail included an alternative to perceived stigmatization and privacy concerns associated with daily in-jail SLB administration and less concerns with buprenorphine diversion. In-jail peer networks positively influenced participant adoption of XRB. XRB satisfaction was attributed to reduced in-jail clinic and medication administration visits, perceived efficacy and blockade effects upon the use of heroin/fentanyl following release, and averting the risk of criminal activities to fund opioid use. Barriers to retention included post-injection withdrawal symptoms and cravings attributed to perceived suboptimal medication dosing, injection site pain, and lack of in-jail provider information about the medication.
ConclusionParticipants were generally favorable to XRB initiation in jail and retention post-release. Further studies are needed to address factors influencing access to XRB in criminal justice settings, including stigma, ensuring patient privacy following initiation on XRB, and patient-, provider-, and correctional staff education pertaining to XRB. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identified: NCT03604159.