Connecticut officials are planning to expand methadone treatment to prisoners across the state over the next year or so, in what authorities believe would be the first statewide prison program in the country to use the drug to help inmates avoid withdrawal symptoms and overdoses.
The effort comes as heroin overdoses have soared nationwide. It also comes amid a statewide crackdown on people dealing the drug and investigation into the source of lethal heroin.
Studies show addicted prisoners are at risk of overdosing when they're released, because they take the same doses of heroin after their tolerance has gone down in jail.
Connecticut has methadone pilot programs at jails in Bridgeport and New Haven.
Officials want to expand the treatment to include other jails and give methadone to prison inmates shortly before they're released.
The National Commission on Correctional Health Care says methadone programs in jails and prisons are relatively rare in the U.S.