Yale expert to study opioid treatments among individuals involved with the criminal justice system

Yale School of Medicine researchers will lead one of the sites in a large study designed to reduce opioid overdoses. Dr. Sandra Springer is one of the principal investigators of this multi-site effort supported by a major grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The grant is one of 12 forming the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN). The network will focus on finding quality treatments for opioid use disorder in criminal justice environments across the nation. The awards will total about $155 million over a multi-year period, and involve 10 research institutions and two health centers to provide supportive infrastructure.

Springer will lead the Connecticut site of the New York University JCOIN award with contact lead investigator Dr. Joshua Lee and colleagues at sites in New York, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Specifically, they will collaborate with local correctional programs within their states and perform a randomized controlled trial across the five sites. They will compare two formulations of long-acting injectable medications to treat opioid use disorder (long-acting buprenorphine and extended-release naltrexone) among people involved in the criminal justice system who have opioid use disorder in order to evaluate treatment retention as well as reduction in relapses.

People involved in the criminal justice system are more likely to have opioid use disorder as compared to those living in the community and highly likely to overdose after release to the community, yet few are offered effective medication treatments,” said Springer. “We are excited to lead the Connecticut site working with our collaborators in the Department of Corrections and with community providers. This is the first time such a large collaborative study has been done and we are excited to work with the other 11 funded JCOIN sites to hopefully improve care for those living with opioid use disorder and involved with the criminal justice system.”

Springer is an associate professor of medicine in the section of infectious diseases at Yale School of Medicine and associate clinical professor of nursing at the Yale School of Nursing. She also is an attending physician at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VACHS) and serves as the director of the infectious disease outpatient clinic at the VACHS Newington in Connecticut.

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