Friday, March 13, 2015

Prisons Are Making America's Drug Problem Worse

Even federal prisons know that their inmates need medication-assisted therapy. So why aren’t they changing?

...After two decades of rapidly rising incarceration rates—rates that continued to rise even as crime sat at record historic lows—America today has nearly 2.2 million adult inmates in local, state and federal jails and prisons, including about 300,000 who have a history of heroin addiction. The BOP spends $110 million annually on drug treatment programs for approximately 80,000 inmates identified as dependent on narcotics. But for the 10,000 or so federal inmates dependent on heroin or other opioids, millions of those dollars are currently spent on outdated, ineffective approaches that wrongly prohibit medication-assisted therapies—approaches that, in other words,fail to help prisoners addicted to opioids during their sentence and ultimately return them afterwards to society as addicted as they were when they went into jail. 

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