The power to choose: creating a group treatment protocol to address substance use disorder in a correctional facility
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Many individuals who are incarcerated have co-occurring substance use disorders that can lead to continued substance use and criminal activity post-release. The insidious and cyclic nature of substance use disorder limits the ability of these individuals fulfill meaningful life roles and engage in an occupationally rich life upon their return to the community. The current field of research examining effective in-prison treatment for those with substance use disorders highlights the need for evidence-based, occupation-focused treatment programs to address substance use disorder in an incarcerated population. After a review of recent literature, it was found that effective substance use treatment programs in correctional settings are occupation-focused, gender-responsive, and trauma-informed; include multiple treatment modalities and an aftercare component; and facilitate the creation of trust-based relationships. The author considered these essential elements while creating The Power to Choose, a 16-session manualized group treatment protocol that is occupation-focused and recovery-oriented. The protocol was reviewed by field experts to determine social validity. Recommendations from experts were implemented into the final version of the group treatment protocol and submitted to the correctional facility for program implementation and evaluation.