In the United States, heroin withdrawal prison deaths are a growing issue. In fact, there has been an upwards of a half-dozen cases of inmates dying in jails due to heroin withdrawal over the last several years. This is a shocking number, especially when withdrawing from heroin can be a manageable (though painful) condition when treated with medication and monitoring. What will it take for all prisons to develop a detox protocol for inmates struggling with addiction and withdrawal?
While this is a major problem and a deadly trend, there is some progress taking place. There are around 100 Vivitrol programs in prisons in 30 states across the nation. These programs provide opioid addicts with a monthly shot of Vivitrol to curb cravings. But merely 100 programs is not enough. More action needs to be taken.
America’s prisons and jails are rampant with substance use disorders. In fact, research shows that the increase in the incarcerated population is largely due to criminal activity linked to drug and alcohol use. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 65% of America’s inmates meet the criteria for a substance use disorder, but only 11% received any treatment for their addiction. According to their report, in 2005, the United States spent $74 billion on incarceration, court proceeding, probation and parole for substance-involved offenders, and less than 1% on prevention and treatment. Thus, there is a huge gap between available addiction treatment and the need for such treatment in America’s jails and prisons.
Jail or prison should be a place where people can get the help they need. Research shows that treatment can help many drug-using offenders change their attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs; prevent relapse; and remove themselves from a life of crime and substance abuse. Criminal justice professionals, substance abuse treatment professionals, and other social services agencies working together could help improve outcomes for offenders struggling with addiction.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, and you do not know where to turn, reach out to Addiction Intervention Now. Our team of addiction experts can help you or your loved one get the help you need and deserve. Our team specializes in interventions and helping addicts get into a treatment program that best fits their unique needs and goals. Call us today at (800) 208-8680.