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Long-term inmate health care needs improvement, Md. report says

A state audit says there have been some improvements in inmate health care at Maryland prisons, but more needs to be done to help inmates with long-term conditions.

The Office of Legislative Audits released a report Monday on the state prison health care system. It says the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services progressed in areas such as making sure inmates were examined within seven days of an arrest, and with creating a program for methadone addicts.

However, auditors found “minimal progress” in treating inmates with chronic conditions such as HIV and diabetes, and demanding contractors improve in areas where they have shortfalls.

The state promised to make improvements after reaching a settlement last year with groups that sued over prison health conditions.

-- Associated Press

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 6, 2010; 8:56 AM ET
Categories:  Maryland , Prison Beat  
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While this IS good news, I do want to correct the use of the term "methadone addict". People who take methadone as a treatment for opioid addiction are NOT "methadone addicts".Addiction and dependence are defied very differently in the scientific and medical community. Addiction involves not just physical dependence, but a series of behaviors not usually found in stable, compliant methadone patients, so while it may be correct to say they are dependent on methadone physically, they do not meet the definition of being "addicted" to methadone.

It is of crucial importance that both jails and prisons abandon the inhumane practice of forcing legal methadone patients to go off their medication "cold turkey". This has caused deaths in quite a few jails and there is absolutely NO reason to discontinue this medication abruptly upon incarceration and take such a risk. A few years ago, an Orlando jail was successfully sued by the families of two women in their 30's who died within months of each other, both from untreated abrupt methadone withdrawal--methadone they had been LEGALLY prescribed. The families asked for--and received--5 million dollars.

Posted by: zenith1 | April 6, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

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