February 1, 2018 – Connecting individuals struggling with the disease of addiction to treatment providers instead of incarceration centers is a vital step in curbing the opioid crisis. In the last six months, two people have reportedly died in Philadelphia’s largest correctional facility, including one from a drug overdose.
According to Philadelphia Weekly, a 36-year-old man was found unresponsive in his cell due to an “accidental drug intoxication.” He was arrested for theft, but correctional officers weren’t aware that he had allegedly had opioids in his system.
This story highlights the need to address addiction in inmates and provide medical treatment:
Approximately 75 percent of the city’s jail population have substance-use disorders, and, of those, approximately 20 percent are opioid users, said Bruce Herdman, chief of medical operations for Philadelphia’s Department of Prisons. Of the 28,000 admissions a year, medical staff at the department of prisons puts 8,000 people on one of three nationally-recognized detox protocols. About 6,000 of those inmates receive the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) protocol, Herdman said.
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