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October 29, 2020

"The Right to Medication-Assisted Treatment in Jails and Prisons"

The title of this post is the title of this new article just posted to SSRN authored by Samuel Macomber. Here is its abstract:

Opioid withdrawal is a grueling physical ordeal.  Fortunately, the effects of withdrawal — physical suffering, mental distress, and mortality — can be mitigated by proper medical care. In most jails and prisons, however, individuals with opioid use disorder are denied access to proper medical care and are forced to endure involuntary withdrawal.  The refusal to provide adequate medical care for the serious health condition of opioid use disorder is unnecessary, unlawful, and deadly. 

This article argues that correctional facilities have an affirmative obligation to provide medication-assisted treatment to all incarcerated individuals with opioid use disorder, regardless of whether the patient was using legal prescriptions or illicit substances prior to incarceration.  Providing medication-assisted treatment will reduce suffering, save lives, and uphold the state’s promise of human dignity to those whose liberty is restricted by incarceration.  Further, this article argues that the Supreme Court should modify the legal standard for adequate medical care in correctional facilities so that courts need only consider the objective medical need of incarcerated individuals.

October 29, 2020 at 10:14 AM | Permalink


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