Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian addresses members of the clergy in the Armenian Church.

Sheriff Koutoujian Participates in Armenian Church Clergy Webinar Focused on Opioid Crisis

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian discussed local efforts to address the opioid crisis during a webinar for Armenian Church clergy on Tuesday, October 31. The sheriff spoke from the Holy Trinity Armenian Church, where he joined other presenters for the live webinar viewed by participants in several states in the eastern United States.

Koutoujian was invited to participate in the webinar by clergy officials to present on the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office efforts to assist individuals in the justice system with opioid use disorders.

“I want to thank the church and all the organizers for putting together this critical educational forum,” said Koutoujian. “This crisis is devastating communities and families across the country and we all have a role to play in stemming its tide.”

Koutoujian said that 42 percent of all new individuals admitted to his facility last year required medical detox — more than 2,000 individuals. The vast majority required treatment for opioids or a combination of substances including opioids.

In an effort to help those struggling with opioid use disorders, Koutoujian created the Medication Assisted Treatment and Directed Opioid Recovery (MATADOR) program. The voluntary six-month, post-release program combines use of a long-lasting injectable form of naltrexone with support from a sheriff’s office staff member. This staff member, based on the patient navigator model found in the healthcare industry, serves a critical support role in counseling program participants.

Koutoujian’s efforts through the MATADOR program led the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) has designated the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office as a Center of Innovation. Through the first two years of the program, 97 participants have successfully completed six months, with just seven percent of those having a new conviction.

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