Commissioners Vote to End Carroll County Jail's Drug Treatment Program

Nov 15, 2019

Credit NHPR File Photo

Carroll County Commissioners voted 2 to 1 Wednesday against continuing the county jail's current Medication Assisted Treatment program, also known as MAT. MAT provides anti-opioid medications, along with counseling and therapy, to help people with substance use disorders.

Rockingham, Strafford, Cheshire, Grafton and Sullivan counties, along with the state prison in Berlin, and the men and women’s prison in Concord, currently offer this type of treatment.

Carroll County's MAT program has been in limbo since commissioners voted 2 to 1 in October against having an MAT policy.

The policy would have allowed inmates who weren’t getting MAT before their incarceration to start treatment in jail.

Amanda Bevard, chair of the commission, is opposed to inmates starting treatment in jail, but is in favor of providing MAT to inmates who were already getting that treatment before their incarceration.  

“I don’t think the county should be involved in taking a person and putting medicine in their system every day when they’re with the county and that they’ll need when they leave. I don’t think that’s right,” Bevard said.

Carroll County Jail’s Superintendent Jason Henry said he would move forward with the proposed policy, citing state law that says superintendents have the authority to adopt policies they need to run the jail.

He said this was a way to provide proper medical care.  

“It’s a standard of care in several of the other states surrounding us as well,” Henry said at the October meeting.

But with this most recent November vote, Henry says he'll need to reassess whether MAT can continue. He says he hopes there can be some compromise.

"That's what I'm hoping with. Work with the ACLU and our commissioner. See if we can't do that and come to a resolve. I'm not sure what the next steps might be. [I’m] playing it by ear,” Henry said.

There are currently eight Carroll County inmates on MAT, five of whom started the treatment in jail.

“As far as I’m concerned the vote puts an end to [the program],” Commissioner Bevard said.