Prison Based Treatment Facilities Do Not Provide Medication-Assisted Detox?


This was a badly managed case. Taking somebody from 120 milligrams of methadone to nothing is unconscionable. And so, this was a medical misadventure. The state of treatment for addiction medicine all over this country is terrible. It’s bad. May I comment, about the medication assisted treatment, please? Yeah, please. I am proud to report that our treatment center, offers all three forms of the FDA approved medication assisted treatment, from methadone to Subutex to Vivitrol shots given every 28 days. We’ve been doing it for our addiction treatment clients for several months, and we now do it for our higher incarcerated population. We believe it’s not jail and prison, and it’s not punitive and retribution. It’s rehabilitation. And we have to do that because our folks are going back to the community and we need them to be productive, sober, and compliant in the community so they can live the law-abiding life that they deserve to live. And Sheriff, your program sounds like it’s either at, or near, the gold standard of what we need to be going for. And unfortunately, we’re not there yet, but there is this really powerful and helpful resource. It’s put out by NIDA, the National Institute of Drug Abuse– Sure. And it’s called The Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations. It’s actually designed for communities who might be administering to these people, and to actually train them well. And unfortunately, Sheriff, most of the programs don’t do what you do. Less than one percent of jail and prison-based treatment programs even allow for medication assisted detox processes. And that’s part of a huge problem that we’re talking about now. It’s a very good and a very fair point. And thank you for acknowledging that we may be at the top and may be a gold standard in our treatment program. If that’s the case, and I’m not saying it is, I think we do a very good job, but if that’s the case, why are people looking to shut us down? Why not replicate the work we’re doing and allow us to continue to save people? Not just in Hampden County, or Western Massachusets. How ’bout the country? Because this is an issue that’s affecting and ripping apart our families. And there is work to be done. And your county sheriff shouldn’t have to do it. They need to be doing it. We need to support our communities. Well, it starts higher up than that because, you forget, in a perfect world, we would have a jail. We would have a rehabilitation center. And we would have our mental institutions. We don’t have the money. (audience applauding) So the legislature needs to start focusing on putting some money towards these programs to help the local agencies.

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