The Maine Department of Corrections and a substance abuse treatment organization are partnering to provide medication and counseling to 100 to 150 opioid-addicted inmates before their release.

Deputy Corrections Commissioner Ryan Thornell tells the Bangor Daily News that addiction rates in the prison population are so high that it would be “irresponsible” not to at least start inmates on treatment.

The pilot program kicks off next month.

State officials have been working over the past several months to identify inmates at three correctional facilities who are within six months of release and have faced opioid addiction.

Inmates who agree to participate will begin receiving medicine that is commonly known by the brand name Suboxone on July 1, about 90 days before their release.

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