Federal Court Rules Maine Jail Must Provide Medication for Opioid Use Disorder

A federal appeals court has ruled a Maine jail must provide an incarcerated woman with medications for her opioid use disorder, NPR report. The decision could have wide repercussions, according to legal advocates.

“This is the first federal appeals court in the country to address the right to treatment for opioid addiction in jail,” said Emma Bond, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Maine. “It represents a huge step forward in the fight against the opioid crisis and for our client who will get her medication in jail.”

The woman, Brenda Smith, receives a twice-daily dose of burprenorphine for her opioid use disorder. Smith has been in stable recovery for five years on the medication, the article notes. She was sentenced last year to 40 days in jail for theft, and was scheduled to begin her sentence this month. Jail officials told her lawyer they were going to stop her treatment during her sentence, forcing her to undergo withdrawal in jail.

Smith’s lawyers argued that withholding treatment would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 8th Amendment of the constitution.

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    David B.

    May 9, 2019 at 5:05 PM

    The client has been on burprenorphine for 5 years? That is way too long…she should have been taken off the drug a long time ago…just wait till she trys to stop…her withdrawals are going to be worse than her opiate addiction.

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