KENT COUNTY JAIL OPENS DOOR TO LAWSUITS Pt 2
Posted in the Kent County Forum
Since: Dec 13
#1 Dec 19, 2013
In 1976, the Supreme Court recognized the government’s obligation to provide medical care to prisoners. The Court reasoned that because the government restrains inmates’ liberty and thereby prohibits inmates from independently seeking medical care, the government must provide that care.
The Kent County Correctional Facility’s prohibitive policy deprived me of the Medication Assisted Treatment that I was entitled to and, as a pretrial detainee, violated my Fourteenth Amendment right to “due process” under the law, before discontinuing my MAT, ie. methadone; protected under the state and federal regulations relegating the discontinuation of methadone to the Opioid Treatment Program’s discretion and protocol, not to any protocol orchestrated by Kent County Policies or by Sheriff Stelma, the policy maker/enforcer for the Kent County Correctional Facility.
The Federal Guidelines for Opioid Treatment governing Medication Assisted Treatment Programs clearly addresses involuntary withdrawal from methadone under § O. Administrative Withdrawal and Discharge (authorized by 42 CFR § 8.12(e)(4)):
A major goal for programs is to retain patients for as long as they can benefit from treatment and express a desire to continue it. Because retaining the patient is not always possible, programs provide procedures for administrative withdrawal that employ the principles involved in medically supervised withdrawal from medication. Administrative withdrawal is usually involuntary. When a program makes the decision administratively to discharge a patient from pharmacotherapy, the program offers a humane schedule of medically supervised withdrawal, using sound clinical judgment. A suggested medically supervised withdrawal schedule for administrative withdrawal is generally a minimum of 21 days, but the physician or mid-level practitioner, as appropriate, may adjust this time frame depending on clinical factors. The program documents the patient’s condition during medically supervised withdrawal in the patient’s record. On discharge, the program makes appropriate alternative referrals. Given the short time frame and poor prognosis for the withdrawal procedure, patient referral or transfer to a suitable alternative treatment program is the preferred alternative.
Nothing in these Federal Guidelines or 42 Code of Federal Regulations § 8 deprives the Methadone Treatment Patient of the right to the above provision if a patient is incarcerated. Nothing in the Federal Guidelines or 42 Code Federal Regulations § 8 relegates the discontinuation of methadone to any other authority if the patient is incarcerated. Therefore I claim that I had a governmental induced liberty interest and expectation, as a participant of an Opioid Treatment Program, to be evaluated by the prescribing physician to determine if Medication Assisted Treatment should be discontinued and if so, how. I claim that the prohibitive policy at the Kent County Correctional Facility deprived me of that liberty interest and reasonable expectation, thus violated my constitutional rights.
In 1997, after reviewing 941 studies, the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Panel issued a landmark statement announcing that addiction to opioids is not an issue of willpower: opioid dependence is a medical, brain-related disorder to be treated like any other chronic medical illness.
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