Anti-medication-assisted therapy policies have a number of unconscionable effects. They mean that incarceration necessarily disrupts a promising treatment before it has time to work. They also force addicts who are in treatment but faced with incarceration to rapidly and dangerously taper off serious medications.
Substance Abuse Media Clips
Massachusetts state legislation enacted in August 2015, known as Chapter 55, allowed for the first time the linking of 22 data sets to answer questions about opioid use and the epidemic spreading across the state.
America hasn’t fully embraced the solutions that we know can work. According to a 2016 report by the surgeon general, only 10 percent of people in the US with a drug use disorder get specialty treatment, which the report attributed to a lack of access to care. Even when treatment is available, other federal data suggests that fewer than half of treatment facilities offer opioid addiction medications.
The Pew Charitable Trusts recently hosted a panel discussion in Philadelphia on how the city and other urban areas, such as Baltimore and Staten Island, New York, are responding to the opioid crisis.
Doctors are following recommendations based on recent research that shows over-the-counter stalwarts acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be more effective at treating pain than opioids. Inmates can request a higher level of painkiller, but that doesn’t always mean the doctor will agree.
“Honestly, most people thought heroin was a city thing,” said Pat Schou, executive director of the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network. “But we quickly learned that wasn’t the case. It affects everyone.”
An innovative program offering all of Rhode Island’s prisoners methadone and other drugs to treat opioid-use disorders has slashed overdose deaths in the state during its first year, according to a new study.
New provisional data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drug overdose deaths declined in 14 states during the 12-month period that ended July 2017, a potentially hopeful sign that policies aimed at curbing the death toll may be working.
The study found that 56 percent of all decedents were incarcerated. That’s also something seen in other data sets across the country. And the data confirmed that decedents were at increased risk of death within 30 days after the date of release.
A new study shows that by targeting people with opioid addiction who are leaving the state’s combined jail and prison, Rhode Island cut the death rate among this group by 61 percent within a year. Overall, between 2016 and 2017, the state saw a 12 percent decline in overdose deaths.