RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) is set to expand its Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for individuals with opioid addictions.

According to VADOC, the expansion will now allow buprenorphine to be continued for men and women entering Virginia prisons with verified prescriptions for the treatment of opioid use disorder. The FDA-approved medication, when taken as prescribed, is reportedly safe and effective in diminishing the physical dependency on opioids.

“The data illustrates that the number of Americans dying from opioid use is increasing dramatically,” said VADOC Director Harold W. Clarke. “As an agency committed to providing second chances for those entrusted to our care, it is imperative that we continue to grow programs that have proven to work.”

VADOC continues to offer two-dose naloxone — an opioid overdose reversal medicine — in take-home kits to individuals released from prisons taking part in the Medication Assisted Treatment Reentry Initiative.

The MAT pilot program was first introduced in July 2018 to provide pre-release and post-release treatment to VADOC inmates suffering from opioid addictions.