How the Americans With Disabilities Act could change the way the nation’s jails and prisons treat addiction
“Most jails and prisons around the country forbid methadone and a newer addiction medication, buprenorphine, even when legitimately prescribed, on the grounds that they pose safety and security concerns. The drugs are frequently smuggled into facilities and sold or traded among prisoners. Pesce worried that while he went through withdrawal from methadone in jail, someone would offer him drugs, and he wouldn’t be able to refuse. He turned to the courts for a solution: Pesce sued the Essex County sheriff on the grounds that his addiction was a disability and that denying him treatment was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as cruel and unusual punishment. “I am terrified that if I am unable to remain on my medication,” he said in court papers, “I will lose control of my addiction, and I will relapse, overdose and die.” In November, a federal judge in Massachusetts sided with Pesce in what attorneys describe as the first ruling of its kind.
Source: TheMarshallProject.org – January 29, 2019