Buprenorphine-Based Formulations for Opioid Use Disorder in Correctional Settings


Project Status:
Project Line:
Horizon Scan
Project Sub Line:
Environmental Scan
Project Number:

Various formulations of buprenorphine, including extended-release depot injection and transmucosal tablet and film, are used to treat opioid use disorder. An Environmental Scan was performed to explore the provision of these formulations in correctional settings. A survey of 29 individuals representing Canadian correctional facilities or health authorities revealed that all offered the depot injection, but some lacked the transmucosal tablet or film. Eligibility for opioid agonist therapy typically requires a diagnosis, positive urine test, or prescription. Therapy initiation depends on withdrawal symptoms or relapse risk. Dosing varies by jurisdiction, with transitions between formulations sometimes occurring sooner than recommended. Medication administration is supervised, with postrelease transition plans reported in some areas. Although the depot injection reduces diversion risk, its injection discomfort limits acceptance. The anticipated decrease in diversion with transmucosal film use was not achieved. Respondents stressed the importance of patient involvement in treatment decisions.