CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Sheriff Karl Leonard has announced the creation of a new program for Chesterfield County Jail that aims to combat opioid addiction with other medication.

“We have seen a marked increase of new committals entering our facility who are already on medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) of either Buprenorphine (Suboxone™) or Methadone,” Leonard said. “Taking them off this protocol when they enter our facility could be very harmful to the individual and potentially violate their civil rights. That is why we are excited today to launch this new program named SMART (Supported Medically Assisted Rehabilitative Treatment).”

MOUD is a form of “whole-patient” treatment that uses certain medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to help those struggling with substance use disorders.

The medications that are often used in MOUD are all approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are clinically driven and tailored to meet the needs of each individual patient.

Research shows that a combination of medication and therapy can successfully treat these disorders, and for some people struggling with addiction, MOUD can also help sustain recovery and prevent or reduce opioid overdose and death, decrease criminal behavior and reduce opioid use.

“The jail has already been administering predominantly Suboxone™ for a while now on an individual basis but with the large increase in those requiring it, we can control it more and lower the risk of abuse and diversion by limiting it to one pod in our facility,” Sheriff Leonard said. “Plus, designated participants will also now receive tools to help them transition into long-term recovery.”

The SMART program will accompany the already highly successful HARP Program, which is an abstinence-based program. Leonard stated, “We are excited to enter this new phase with our recovery efforts and our continued goal to end the cycle of recidivism by ending the addictions”.

The efforts of the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office represent a greater push in the county to proactively combat prescription drug abuse and promote addiction recovery.