AHP Co-Authors Legal Brief on Managing Substance Withdrawal in Jails

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) just released Managing Substance Withdrawal in Jails: A Legal Brief, which was developed by AHP in partnership with BJA and the National Institute of Corrections, along with the support of Georgetown University Law Center. 
A disproportionate number of people in jails have substance use disorders (SUDs), and incarceration provides a pivotal opportunity for identifying an SUD and managing withdrawal in jails. If not identified and addressed, it can lead to serious medical complications and even death. 
Managing Substance Withdrawal in Jails: A Legal Brief focuses on withdrawal in jail settings, describes the scope of the challenge, provides an overview of key legislation and significant court cases related to substance withdrawal, and outlines steps for creating a comprehensive response for individuals with SUDs.  
As noted in the brief, research reveals some startling numbers: 
  • From 2000 to 2019, the number of local jail inmates who died from all causes increased 33 percent; the number who died from drug/alcohol intoxication during the same period increased 397 percent
  • The median length of stay in jail before death from alcohol or drug intoxication was just 1 day, indicating that individuals on short stays, including those who are detained in pretrial status, are equally at risk. 
  • Women incarcerated in local jails have an average annual mortality rate due to drug/alcohol intoxication nearly twice that of their male counterparts. 
Jail administrators have a pressing responsibility to establish and implement withdrawal policy and protocols that will prevent serious medical complications and deaths, as well as ensure legal compliance. These guidelines will help them address the scope of the challenge and save lives. 
Managing Substance Withdrawal in Jails: A Legal Brief is a free download on the BJA website. 

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