A randomized controlled trial of buprenorphine for probationers and parolees: Bridging the gap into treatment

Michael S. Gordon, Frank J. Vocci, Faye Taxman, Marc Fishman, Bikash Sharma, Thomas R. Blue, Kevin E. O'Grady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Buprenorphine can be effective in a variety of community substance use treatment settings outside of methadone programs, including outpatient programs and medical practices. In these settings, it has been found to be effective in reducing opioid use and retaining patients in treatment. Despite its effectiveness and safety, it is rarely provided to individuals with opioid use disorders in probation and parole settings. Methods: Male and female individuals under probation or parole supervision (N = 320) with histories of opioid use disorder will be enrolled in this randomized controlled trial. Participants will be randomized to one of two study arms: Buprenorphine Bridge Treatment (BBT): Participants will begin buprenorphine using the MedicaSafe dispensing device immediately after an on-site intake at a community supervision office and continue such treatment until they are transitioned to a community program; or Treatment as Usual (TAU): Participants will receive a referral to buprenorphine pharmacotherapy treatment in the community. Treatment outcomes will be: (a) illicit opioid oral saliva drug test results; and (b) treatment adherence (i. entered community based treatment; ii. number of days receiving opioid treatment). Results: We describe the background and rationale for the study, its aims, hypotheses, and study design. Conclusions: If shown to increase compliance rates with conditions of probation and parole, buprenorphine treatment co-located at community supervision field offices could have a major impact on delivery of buprenorphine treatment to the criminal justice population. The public health impact of the proposed study would be widespread because this intervention could be implemented throughout areas of the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Buprenorphine
  • Community supervision
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Parole
  • Probation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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