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June 29, 2010

"The Case for Treating Drug Addicts in Prison"

The title of this post is the headline of this interesting new piece in Newsweek.  Here is an excerpt:

Of the 2.3 million inmates in the U.S., more than half have a history of substance abuse and addiction. Not all those inmates are imprisoned on drug-related charges (although drug arrests have been rising steadily since the early 1990s; there were 195,700 arrests in 2007). But in many cases, their crimes, such as burglary, have been committed in the service of feeding their addictions....

Over the last few years, some in the justice system have warmed to the idea of treating drug addicts in addition to (or instead of) incarcerating them.  In some states, most notably Ohio, almost all first-time drug offenders and many second-timers are offered treatment. That is by no means the case nationally. According to a report released last year by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, just one fifth of inmates get some form of treatment.  That number may be lower in the near future: tight budgets are forcing many states to cut back or close down their existing treatment programs.  Kansas and Pennsylvania have already done so; California and Texas may follow suit in the next few months.

The irony here is that by lowering recidivism, the programs themselves save money in the long run.  The NIDA report released last year cited a remarkable statistic: heroin addicts who received no treatment in jail were seven times as likely as treated inmates to become re-addicted, and three times as likely to end up in prison again.  For every dollar spent, the programs save $2 to $6 by reducing the costs of re-incarceration, according to Human Rights Watch.  Looked at another way, the programs can save the justice system about $47,000 per inmate.

So why would prisons target their own treatment programs in an effort to cut costs?  Part of the reason is that pharmacological treatment — such as giving heroin addicts methadone to help them through withdrawal — requires a lot of regulation, and thus it’s expensive in the short run.... [P]oliticians may oppose treatment (at least publicly), especially if they’re worried about being seen as soft on crime. And even if they support the idea, with state budgets under a crunch, treatment can start to look expendable.

June 29, 2010 at 08:18 AM | Permalink


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Office based medication is available. It may be prescribed by the prison family doctor like antibiotics. The doctor must undergo an 8 hour course (no exam), to get a special license to prescribe it. It is more expensive than methadone, but not after one realizes the other savings from not getting a methadone clinic license to prescribe it to addicts, with demanding staff ratios and regulatory requirements. Doctors may prescribe methadone for pain without any special license, but not for adiction.


Wow. It has just gone generic. It is far superior, safer, and blitzes people far less than methadone, if at all. It is quite unfortunate that DEA thugs are deterring docs from entering this program by their nasty reviews, showing up, roughing up the staff. Thank the DOJ lawyer cult criminal for the rarity of doctors willing to undergo this intimidation on behalf of this population. Given its new generic availability, there is no reason to use methadone. All responders (about 70% of opiate addicts) are usually alert, striving to rebuild their lives, trying to retrieve their kids, and beginning to use those great street skills and smoothness in pursuit of legal occupations.


Docs are strongly advised to have a lawyer present, and to fully resist all requests to "cooperate." Seek TRO's if these thugs get abusive or intimidating. Generate costs to these government thugs. Then file complaints about each hostile utterance, one at a time, monthly. They refuse to provide demanded material, such as the names of all their supervisors, so they may be named in litigation, the nature of their training, the criteria they use to punish doctors. Organized medicine or organized addiction medicine needs to declare war on these enemies of clinical care. If one thought organized lawyerhood was a bunch of weasels, organized medicine is far more craven and mealy mouthed. For example, docs are seething at the leadership of the AMA for its all out collaborating with the enemy, the Obama administration.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 29, 2010 8:46:42 AM

Treatment is tough on crime. The prisoner is basically on vacation in prison, gets up late, eats, exercises, chats, eats, naps, etc. Eats, networks for future references.

In treatment, there is work to change habits that have landed him in a cage. These therapies can be pressured and unpleasant. Most prisoners prefer straight time.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 29, 2010 9:13:04 AM

The Harsh Reality of Drug Addiction richardmclaughlin007 — January 18, 2009 — after 11 months of sobriety from drug addiction, in 7 short days this man hits the depths of despair and insanity.


This video was shot in Vancouvers downtown eastside by the narrator it is quite extreme, It shows how common place and and readily available drugs are and how people can succomb to a extreme physical reaction from lack of sleep, nutrition and dehydration. This video was made for many different reasons, one being educational the other as mentioned earlier it's common place here in Vancouver, in any other city or town in North America this man would have recieved immediate medical attention but here in Vancouver both the police and ambulance just drive by. If you do not belive me come on down and see our little human circus slash "HARM REDUCTION EXPERIMENT"
This man was spotted two hours later sleeping on a concrete curb as his pillow.
Both the narrator and producer of this video have had spent many years struggling with addiction and have spent hard time in Vancouvers "NOTORIOUS" downtown eastside.
Today they have escaped and are clean and sober and now dedicate there lives to those who still suffer from "THE HARSH REALITY OF ADDICTION"

Posted by: RECOVERED ADDICT | Jun 29, 2010 1:16:04 PM

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