August 2 2016
Sheriff Koutoujian Discussed White House Trips, Fighting Opioid Addiction, at Burlington Rotary
The following is a release from Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian’s office:
Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian joined members of the Burlington Rotary Club on Tuesday, August 2, to discuss two recent trips to the White House where he spoke about efforts to address the opioid crisis and mental health issues among the inmate population.
“I want to thank the Burlington Rotary Club for the opportunity to talk about the important work we are doing and the national attention we are garnering,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “It’s critically important we continue to have these kinds of conversations about our efforts to help inmates return to the community healthier and more prepared to be productive citizens.”
The Sheriff spoke in depth about presentations he made at the White House in June on the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Medication Assisted Treatment and Directed Opioid Recovery (MATADOR) program, as well as on mental health and incarceration at the July White House Forum on Disability and Criminal Justice. In 2015, nearly 46 percent of all new admittances to the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction reported a history of mental illness.
The MATADOR program provides inmates nearing the end of their sentences with a shot of Vivitrol, a non-habit forming medication which blocks the effects of opioids for up to a month. Along with substance abuse counseling and other services, the program seeks to continue an inmate’s sobriety upon their reentry to the community.
Sheriff Koutoujian also discussed the establishment earlier this year of the Commonwealth’s first specialized housing unit for incarcerated veterans. The Housing Unit for Military Veterans, or HUMV, offers programming specifically tailored to veterans’ needs: employment readiness, substance abuse treatment, visits from the Department of Veterans Services, and guest speakers from military and civilian life. Governor Charlie Baker joined the Sheriff to formally open the unit in March.