Massachusetts prisons have begun to be provide opiate-addicted inmates with medications to help them through withdrawals and treat their substance abuse.
The three medications that will be used are Suboxone, methadone and Naltrexone, according to Andrea Cabral, the former Suffolk County sheriff, former secretary of public safety, and the CEO of Ascend. The reason why Massachusetts prisons had previously denied inmates medication, and why most prisons throughout the country continue to do so, is because Suboxone and methadone are considered controlled substances which could be abused by inmates.
On Boston Public Radio Thursday, Cabral said before medication, the most common treatment for inmates addicted to opiates was the cold turkey approach.
"Once the person was incarcerated, it was long held to be the most effective type of withdrawal and detoxification," Cabral said. "I don't think the science necessarily bears that out, especially with the rates of relapse."
Cabral called the decisions to administer medication for addiction treatment "good news."