Effect of an organizational linkage intervention on staff perceptions of medication-assisted treatment and referral intentions in community corrections

Peter D. Friedmann, Donna Wilson, Hannah K. Knudsen, Lori J. Ducharme, Wayne N. Welsh, Linda Frisman, Kevin Knight, Hsiu Ju Lin, Amy James, Carmen E. Albizu-Garcia, Jennifer Pankow, Elizabeth A. Hall, Terry F. Urbine, Sami Abdel-Salam, Jamieson L. Duvall, Frank J. Vocci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Introduction: Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is effective for alcohol and opioid use disorders but it is stigmatized and underutilized in criminal justice settings. Methods: This study cluster-randomized 20 community corrections sites to determine whether an experimental implementation strategy of training and an organizational linkage intervention improved staff perceptions of MAT and referral intentions more than training alone. The 3-hour training was designed to address deficits in knowledge, perceptions and referral information, and the organizational linkage intervention brought together community corrections and addiction treatment agencies in an interagency strategic planning and implementation process over 12. months. Results: Although training alone was associated with increases in familiarity with pharmacotherapy and knowledge of where to refer clients, the experimental intervention produced significantly greater improvements in functional attitudes (e.g. that MAT is helpful to clients) and referral intentions. Corrections staff demonstrated greater improvements in functional perceptions and intent to refer opioid dependent clients for MAT than did treatment staff. Conclusion: Knowledge, perceptions and information training plus interorganizational strategic planning intervention is an effective means to change attitudes and intent to refer clients for medication assisted treatment in community corrections settings, especially among corrections staff.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded under a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse. The authors gratefully acknowledge the collaborative contributions by NIDA; the Coordinating Center, AMAR International, Inc.; and the Research Centers participating in CJ-DATS. The Research Centers include: Arizona State University and Maricopa County Adult Probation ( U01DA025307 ); University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Department of Correction ( U01DA016194 ); University of Delaware and the Delaware Department of Corrections ( U01DA016230 ); Friends Research Institute ( U01DA025233 ) and the Maryland Department of Public Safety Correctional Services' Division of Parole and Probation; University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Corrections ( U01DA016205 ); National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. and the Colorado Department of Corrections ( U01DA016200 ); Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University, University of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, University of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ( U01DA016191 ); Texas Christian University and the Illinois Department of Corrections ( U01DA016190 ); Temple University and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ( U01DA025284 ); and the University of California at Los Angeles and the State of New Mexico Corrections Department ( U01DA016211 ). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Health and Human Services, NIDA, the Department of Veteran Affairs or other CJ-DATS parties.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015.


  • Alcohol-related disorders
  • Attitudes
  • Criminal justice
  • Opiate substitution treatment
  • Opioid-related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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