Prison Drug Treatment Program Proposed

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites that more than 72,000 people die of fatal drug overdoses every year in the United States.

Many of these deaths are preventable.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) – also known as Medication Assisted Recovery – using Methadone, Buprenorphine, or Naltrexone is one of the most effective ways for people with Opioid Use Disorder to stop using heroin, prescription pills, or other opioid drugs.

Medication-Assisted Treatment is the only intervention proven to reduce mortality by as much as 38-59%  – While these medications are typically available in community-based clinics, primary care, and/or outpatient substance use treatment settings, they are underused in jails and prisons.

Democratic Assemblywomen Linda Rosenthal has introduced a bill that would fund a new statewide program providing medical assistance to drug-dependent inmates. from Manhatten spoke yesterday of the Capitol Pressroom radio programme.

She believes that New York state should provide more drug treatment to inmates in correctional facilities.

“A great number of people who end up in jail or prison have a substance use disorder. It’s a disease. They may be in for a crime related to drugs or not, but it is a disease that needs to be treated. Would you send someone to prison who has diabetes and not give them insulin?” she said during the radio broadcast.

“The three most used are methadone, buprenorphine and vivitrol. They stop the cravings and they let you live a semi-normal life because you don’t have to contend with ‘Where’s my next heroin coming from?’ The cost of leaving addictions untreated and housing people in prison over and over is far more costly in the long run.”

Rosenthal says roughly two dozen county jails across New York state are already experimenting with a pilot program providing drug treatment to prisoners.