New training fights inmate substance use disorders

Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care is collaborating with NJ’s prison system to address the drug and alcohol addiction among the state’s inmates

By CorrectionsOne Staff

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A New Jersey university is collaborating with the state’s prison system to address the drug and alcohol addiction among the state’s inmates.

Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care will provide a new training program for prison staff who interact intensively with participating inmates, according to Rutgers Today. The program provides nearly 900 COs and management staff with new skills and information to encourage inmates’ engagement with substance use disorder treatment.

“People are still not convinced that addiction disorder is a disease for which there is a treatment,” Herbert Kaldany, Department of Corrections statewide psychiatry director, said. “Resetting this view will go a long way toward reducing the stigma around seeking help and improving inmates’ engagement with treatment during and after incarceration.”

The program will provide socio-cultural, psychological and neurological perspectives on substance use disorders. The program will also give self-care and stress management techniques that attendees can use for themselves. Studies have shown that COs are at heightened risk for depression and PTSD, which can lead to substance use.

“This is a unique opportunity for them to educate themselves about addiction so that they can apply what they’ve learned with people they know with this disorder — colleagues, family, friends and even themselves,” Kaldany said.

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