A judge can require defendants with substance use disorders to stay off drugs as a condition of probation, and send them to jail if they relapse, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled this week.
A new study published in the December issue of Health Affairs, found that just 5 percent of people referred for opioid addiction treatment by the U.S. criminal justice system receive the best treatment, according to HealthDay.
Prosecutors in Massachusetts have dropped more than 21,000 low-level drug cases because of a drug lab scandal. A chemist at the lab admitted to tampering with evidence, forging test results and lying about it.
Sheriffs and police officers across the country who recognize the extent of the opioid epidemic are implementing innovative programs that focus on treatment of the underlying substance use disorder as a long-term solution.
Legal experts say a memo Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent to federal prosecutors this week suggests he plans to make changes to Obama Administration policies that sought less serious charges in some drug cases.
Police organizations promoting an approach to opioids that emphasizes treatment over jail are concerned the incoming Trump Administration may focus on prosecution rather than treatment, Scientific American reports.
President Obama on Tuesday announced he was reducing or eliminating the sentences for hundreds more nonviolent drug offenders, CNN reports. He has now reduced the sentences for 1,385 people, most of whom are serving time for crimes related to producing or distributing narcotics.
A new report urges legislators to end the use of anonymous shell companies, to help law enforcement fight opioid trafficking. The report, by the nonprofit group the Fair Share Education Fund, says requiring all companies formed in the United States to disclose their owners would allow law enforcement to curb drug trafficking.
Most jails and prisons do not provide medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. Experts tell NPR that for inmates who are forced to detox from methadone, tolerance for opioids decreases, while cravings increase. This raises their risk of overdose after they are released.
A new federal policy will allow 96,000 inmates in halfway houses after release from prison to be eligible for Medicaid benefits, according to USA Today. The policy will allow the former inmates access to treatment for addiction and mental health issues in states that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
A new study finds some of the nation’s areas with high rates of drug overdose deaths do not have a corresponding high rate of drug trafficking. This suggests drugs are passing through counties with high rates of drug trafficking without affecting the death rates of people in those regions, the researchers said. Instead, those drugs are causing overdose deaths in other parts of the country, CBS News reports.