Massachusetts Under Investigation for Treatment of Addicted Prisoners

Incarcerated addicts have never had much luck when it came to getting the proper treatment necessary to recover safely from a substance use disorder and continue on to a life of recovery outside of prison. In Massachusetts, prisoners aren’t offered buprenorphine or methadone treatment for opioid addiction, even if they had been taking these drugs prior to being incarcerated. The U.S. Department of Justice is now investigating whether or not this is allowable.

The idea that incarcerated individuals are forced off of medications they were taking prior to prison to treat their addictions (specifically opioid maintenance drugs) could potentially violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. While the DOJ investigates this claim, lawmakers in Massachusetts are determining whether or not a corrections bill is in order. This bill would make providing inmates with all the FDA-approved medications for opioid treatment (including naltrexone) mandatory for prisons and jails, which would be a potential step forward for those struggling to recover safely during and after incarceration.

Is Treatment Better than Prison?

addicted prisoners

In truth, treatment is a more effective option than prison for those who are currently addicted to drugs, especially ones as easily accessible as opioids. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, treatment can actually help people put an end to their substance abuse, rather than simply removing them from the situation where they can obtain it for a little while like prison does. In addition, addiction treatment also costs the country as a whole less than incarcerating someone.

  • When the government pays for a year of methadone treatment for an addicted individual, it costs about $4,700 per person.
  • When the government pays for a year of imprisonment, it costs about $24,000 per person.

You can start to see now the ways in which treatment can actually be so much better for one’s overall recovery—and for the country as a whole—than imprisoning an addict. This is why more and more states are looking for options where people who have committed nonviolent crimes may be able to appear in drug court as opposed to being charged with their full violations. In addition, many individuals are able to enter into treatment under the threat of legal pressure, which has the same beneficial outcomes as treatment does for those who enter of their own volition (NIDA).

How Can Treatment Help Me?

You can get help for addiction to opioid drugs by seeking out safe, professional rehab and detox programs. Most people start with detox because it helps them get weaned off opioids and put an end to their drug dependence. If you prefer, you can also be maintained on drugs like methadone or buprenorphine so you will not experience intense withdrawal symptoms. After this, you can seek rehab to learn to avoid relapse, and in many cases, aftercare is an effective way to avoid returning to drug abuse and to stay healthy and sober even post-treatment.

Find Rehab and Detox Centers Today

You can find effective treatment programs near you when you call 866-351-3840(Who Answers?) . We are always available 24/7 to discuss your treatment needs and help you find the best programs for your current stage of recovery.

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