Skip to main content


Knittel, Andrea K.; Swartzwelder, Rita A.; Zarnick, Samantha M.; Tsujimoto, Tamy H.; Horne, Timelie; Lin, Feng-Chang; Edwards, James; Amos, Elton; Alexander, James M.; & Thorp, John M., Jr., et al. (Online ahead of print). Medications for Opioid Use Disorder during Pregnancy: Access and Continuity in a State Women’s Prison Facility, 2016-2019. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.


BACKGROUND: Although medications to treat opioid use disorder (MOUD) are the standard of care during pregnancy, there are many potential gaps in the cascade of care for pregnant people experiencing incarceration.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of pregnant people with opioid use disorder incarcerated in a Southeastern women's prison from 2016 to 2019. The primary outcomes were access to MOUD during incarceration and continuity in the community. We used descriptive statistics to summarize aspects of our sample and logistic regression to identify predictors of MOUD receipt during incarceration.
RESULTS: Of the 279 pregnant people with OUD included in the analysis, only 40.1% (n = 112) received MOUD during incarceration, including 67 (59.8%) who received methadone and 45 (40.1%) who received buprenorphine. Less than one-third of the participants were referred to a community MOUD provider (n = 83, 30%) on return to the community. Significant predictors of MOUD receipt included medium/close custody level during incarceration, incarceration during the latter portion of the study period, pre-incarceration heroin use, and receipt of pre-incarceration MOUD.
CONCLUSIONS: Although prisons can serve as an important site of retention in MOUD for some pregnant people, there were substantial gaps in initiation of MOUD and retention in MOUD among pregnant people with OUD imprisoned in the Southeast during the study period.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

Online ahead of print

Journal Title

Drug and Alcohol Dependence


Knittel, Andrea K.
Swartzwelder, Rita A.
Zarnick, Samantha M.
Tsujimoto, Tamy H.
Horne, Timelie
Lin, Feng-Chang
Edwards, James
Amos, Elton
Alexander, James M.
Thorp, John M., Jr.
Jones, Hendree E.

Article Type



United States of America


North Carolina


Thorp - 0000-0002-9307-6690