Maxwell X Lab
Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Use Site-Based Program Evaluation
- Partners: New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports, New York State Unified Court System, and Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and Population Health
- Intervention: Moral Reconation Therapy-Opioid (MRT-O) and Interactive Journalling (IJ) use among Opioid Court participants
- Method: Propensity score matching
- Outcome: Our analysis suggests that those receiving MRT-O or IJ are more likely to successfully graduate from their treatment program. However, no other significant difference exists on treatment engagement, retention, and criminal recidivism outcome variables.
The New York Department of Health Opioid Annual Data Report (2022) cited a 294% increase in opioid-related overdose deaths from 2010 to 2020, highlighting the state’s stark reality amidst an ongoing epidemic. The New York State Unified Court System (UCS) established the country’s first opioid court in 2016 after recognizing the immediate supportive services necessary to address overdose risks in arrestee populations. Since then, The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and UCS have been working in conjunction to provide evidence-based cognitive behavioral treatments to Opioid Court participants. More specifically, clinicians, court staff and certified recovery peer advocates across New York State courts are now trained in Moral Reconation Therapy-Opioid (MRT-O) and Interactive Journalling (IJ).
The Maxwell X Lab tested the effectiveness of MRT-O and IJ on individuals’ engagement with the treatment program and their subsequent outcomes. To best address this issue, this analysis utilized a quasi-experimental design with a matched comparison group. Data on all participants who entered the Opioid Courts between January 2017 and April 2023 were pulled for the analysis, with a flag for participants that received MRT-O or IJ during their treatment. Through matching, a reliable comparison group was utilized to measure the impact of MRT-O and IJ.
The matched results did not indicate a significant difference between the treated and control groups on treatment engagement, retention, and criminal recidivism. One significant difference did suggest that those receiving MRT-O or IJ were more likely to successfully graduate from their treatment program; however, with the limited data availability, one should interpret these results with caution.