Prisoners as Patients: The Opioid Epidemic, Medication-Assisted Treatment, and the Eighth Amendment

Journal of Law Medicine and Ethics, June 2018 ,Forthcoming

35 Pages Posted: 21 May 2018

See all articles by Michael Linden

Michael Linden

Yale University, Law School, Students

Sam Marullo

Yale University, Law School, Students

Curtis Bone

Yale University

Declan Barry

Yale University

Kristen Bell

Yale University - Law School

Date Written: May 5, 2018

Abstract

In 2016, an estimated 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses, 28 percent more than the year prior. This epidemic is particularly acute in American prisons and jails, where more than half the population meets the criteria for drug abuse or dependence. Drug use in correctional institutions leads to a series of negative consequences during and after incarceration — not only deadly overdoses, but also the transmission of dangerous diseases like hepatitis C and HIV through injection drug use, and other long-term health consequences like pulmonary and heart infections.

Yet in the face of such great need, only a small percentage of incarcerated people with opioid addictions have access to what leading medical organizations take to be the standard of care: medication-assisted treatment (MAT). This article argues that correctional institutions violate the Eighth Amendment when they refuse to establish MAT programs and prevent doctors from exercising medical judgment to properly treat incarcerated people with OUD.

Keywords: opioid, eighth amendment, substance use disorder, prison, jail, deliberate indifference, medical, ethics, MAT, medication assisted treatment

Suggested Citation

Linden, Michael and Marullo, Sam and Bone, Curtis and Barry, Declan and Bell, Kristen, Prisoners as Patients: The Opioid Epidemic, Medication-Assisted Treatment, and the Eighth Amendment (May 5, 2018). Journal of Law Medicine and Ethics, June 2018 ,Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3174122

Michael Linden (Contact Author)

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Sam Marullo

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Curtis Bone

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Declan Barry

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Kristen Bell

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

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