Providing Peer Navigation Services to Women with a History of Opioid Misuse Pre- and Post-release from Jail: A Program Description

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Background: Justice system-involved women with opioid use disorder (OUD) experience layered health risks and stigma, yet peer navigation services during reentry may support positive outcomes. This manuscript offers a program description of a women's peer navigation intervention delivered pre- and post-release from jail to remove barriers to women's access to OUD treatment, including medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). Methods: All data were collected as part of a NIH/NIDA-funded national cooperative, the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) project. Through the larger study's intervention, women in jail with OUD are connected via videoconference to a peer navigator, who provides an initial reentry recovery assessment and 12+ weeks of recovery support sessions post-release. Qualitative analyses examined peers' notes from initial sessions with women (N=50) and in-depth interviews with peers (N=3). Results: Peers' notes from initial sessions suggest that women anticipate challenges to successful recovery and community reentry. More than half of women (51.9%) chose OUD treatment as their primary goal, while others selected more basic needs (e.g., housing, transportation). In qualitative interviews, peers described women's transitions to the community as unpredictable, creating difficulties for reentry planning, particularly for rural women. Peers also described challenges with stigma against MOUD and establishing relationships via telehealth, but ultimately believed their role was valuable in providing resource referrals, support, and hope for recovery. Conclusions: For women with OUD, peer navigation can offer critical linkages to services at release from jail, in addition to hope, encouragement, and solidarity. Findings provide important insights for future peer-based interventions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical and Translational Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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