Please go to Central Maine Online to read the full editorial.
Medication-assisted treatment in jails and prisons makes good sense, and it’s being backed by the courts.
By: The Editorial Board
Sheriffs of New England, you’ve got mail.
The American Civil Liberties Union chapters of Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire last week sent a letter to every sheriff’s office or jail asking them to offer medication-assisted treatment to incarcerated people with opioid use disorder.
The law enforcement officials should listen – and they have two very good reasons for doing so.
First and foremost, medication-assisted treatment, such as Suboxone and methadone, works; it reduces drug cravings and lowers drug sensitivity, and puts people with opioid use disorder on a path to stable living.
If it is not offered, people who were undergoing treatment before being incarcerated lose whatever gains they had made, and those who enter jail or prison untreated don’t get the help they need. Both undergo painful withdrawal that does nothing to address the factors behind their substance use.
And when the person is eventually released, they are let back out into the world untreated, and at a higher risk of overdose and re-offending.