Offbeat State House backs plan to try addiction medications in some Mass. prisons

21:58  12 july  2018
21:58  12 july  2018 Source:   bostonglobe.com

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A criminal justice reform bill before Massachusetts lawmakers contains a provision that would require prisons and jails to offer all approved addiction medications , but several law enforcement officials have Some Mass . Mass . House Approves Criminal Justice Reform Bill. Deborah Becker.

There is one addiction medication that Massachusetts prison officials do accept: Vivitrol, a shot that prevents a person from getting high on opioids for up to a month. Vivitrol is not an opioid and has no street value. The state ’s prisons and some of the county houses of correction offer Vivitrol injections

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has backed a proposal to start offering medication-assisted treatment to some prisoners and to people civilly committed for addiction treatment.

The House voted unanimously late Wednesday to adopt its own version of Governor Charlie Baker’s legislation to address the opioid crisis, adding an amendment from Worcester Representative James J. O’Day that goes partway toward meeting the entreaties of advocates for addicted inmates. 

It remains uncertain whether the provision will become law. The Senate still needs to act on Baker’s opioid bill, and the two chambers need to reconcile their versions in time to send the legislation to the governor’s desk by July 31.

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The Martha’s Vineyard crowd strikes back at Alan Dershowitz for his defenses of Trump. Prisons in Massachusetts , and in most other states , do not provide the two main medications to treat Women and some men who are civilly committed go to facilities that offer all addiction -treatment medications .

The state Legislature recently removed a proposal to require medication -assisted treatments in all prisons , jails, and houses of correction Inmates in Rhode Island and in some Connecticut prisons are offered all three addiction medications , but most US prisons and jails do not provide them

Most jails and all prisons in Massachusetts currently deny inmates access to the main medications used to treat opioid addiction, including buprenorphine (above), often known by the trade name, Suboxone. © Craig Walker/Globe file photo Most jails and all prisons in Massachusetts currently deny inmates access to the main medications used to treat opioid addiction, including buprenorphine (above), often known by the trade name, Suboxone.

Currently most jails and all prisons in Massachusetts deny inmates access to the main medications used to treat opioid addiction — methadone and buprenorphine (often known by a trade name, Suboxone). This leaves addicted inmates at extremely high risk of fatal overdoses when they return to the streets.

A coalition of 26 health care groups had urged the Legislature to require all prisons and jails to offer the medications to opioid-addicted inmates.

The amendment adopted in the House Wednesday takes a step in that direction. It would create a pilot program at six facilities — five prisons (not specified) and a treatment program for civilly committed men that is run by the Department of Correction.

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Try STAT Plus. Evidence and marketing. The White House ’s plan is consistent with a number of efforts Alkermes has made around the country to market its drug at the state level. A White House spokesman said Vivitrol was most appropriate for addiction treatment in federal prisons in part

"I mean in four years a lot can happen and it can be devastating, trying to recover from that." Some state lawmakers say most, if not all, hospitals should offer treatment on demand. At a State House hearing earlier this year, Sen. Addiction treatment programs are taking notice, as Mass .

Under the plan, the six facilities would provide buprenorphine or methadone to inmates who were already taking the medication immediately before incarceration. Two of the prisons and the Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center would also start the medications for willing inmates if an addiction specialist determines the drugs are medically necessary.

The Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center, in Plymouth, is a treatment center for men committed under Section 35, the state law that empowers a judge to force an addicted person into treatment. At the Plymouth facility, patients live in a prison-like setting and do not have access to buprenorphine or methadone, as they would at most other treatment facilities.

Section 35 is also addressed in a separate amendment to the House bill, proposed by Representative Denise C. Garlick, a Norfolk Democrat. The measure would establish a commission to study the efficacy of involuntary commitment for addiction treatment.

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