Woman Going To Jail Sues For Access To Methadone Treatment: ‘I Will Lose Control Of My Addiction… I Will Die.’
The federal prison does not allow anti-craving medications as ongoing treatment for opioid addiction except for pregnant women, who can take methadone. Meanwhile, Massachusetts advocates want hope to revolutionize the way the criminal justice system treats people who are addicted.
The New York Times:
Methadone Helped Her Quit Heroin. Now She’s Suing U.S. Prisons To Allow The Treatment.
A Massachusetts woman recovering from heroin addiction sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Friday over its policy prohibiting methadone treatment, which she wants to continue when she starts a yearlong sentence next month. Her suit comes four months after a federal judge ordered a county jail outside Boston to let an incoming inmate stay on methadone instead of requiring him to go through forced withdrawal, as was its policy. It adds to growing pressure on the criminal justice system to provide methadone or other evidence-based treatments to the staggering number of inmates with opioid addiction. (Goodnough, 3/15)
Legislators Seek To Bar Judges From Sending Drug Users Who Relapse To Jail
Last summer, the state’s highest court ruled that judges could continue to order jail time for defendants who violate probation by using drugs, dismaying public health advocates and addiction specialists who had hoped to revolutionize the way the criminal justice system treats people with substance use disorders. Now, they are asking the Legislature to do what the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court would not: Prevent courts from incarcerating defendants who are in treatment and fail a mandatory drug test while on probation. (Cramer, 3/17)
In other news on the crisis —
Will Fewer Opioid Prescriptions Help Kick The Crisis?
Doctors are less likely to write first-time opioid prescriptions to patients than they were nearly seven years ago, a recent study suggests. The data offers a rare glimmer of good news in the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis, but it’s unclear whether this shift in physician practice could help lower historic rates of fatal drug overdoses nationwide. (Santhanam, 3/15)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Pennsylvania Opioid Cases Are Bottled Up In Delaware County, And Some Want Out
In the 18 months since Delaware County became the first county in Pennsylvania to sue opioid makers, it has become the statewide center for litigation against the manufacturers and distributors of opioids. More than 40 suits across the state – including complaints filed by Philadelphia city government and District Attorney Larry Krasner – have been corralled in the county courthouse in Media, where litigants didn’t have a digital system to file documents until mid-2018. (Dunn, 3/17)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
$200M Proposed For Opioid Addiction, Mental Health: Gov. Mike DeWine’s Budget
Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday he wants the state to spend $200 million on new initiatives aimed at addiction and mental health. Around 13 people in Ohio die a day from drug overdoses, as the state’s opioid epidemic rages on. (Hancock, 3/15)