Discontinuing drug treatment in jail increases the chance of death for inmates who have severe addictions to heroin, experts suggest.
More often than not, correctional facilities prefer ‘abstinence-based’ treatment programs for drug addicts, as there are obvious concerns regarding the abuse of the replacement drugs, like methadone. However reports collected by NPR show that inmates who do not receive the opioid-replacement drug are 8 to 9 times more likely to relapse, overdose due to lowered tolerance of drugs, and ultimately death. Furthermore, those who were already using methodane before incarceration are likely to experience far worse long-term effects when withdrawing from the long-acting narcotic.
US correctional facilities very infrequently offer the treatment to inmates who seek it, with the exception of pregnant women who run the risk of having miscarriages.
The issue is one of public health and social justice, as it leaves few options for drug addicts seeking recovery. After experiencing harsh withdrawals while in jail, heroin addicts end up relapsing and choosing to return to heroin instead of seeking the replacement drug.
Read full story at: NPR