Canadian Prisoners With Opiate Addiction is Allowed to Have Methadone Treatment
Apr 19, 2016 04:45 AM EDT
Prisoners in British Columbia now have access to the same opiate addiction treatment as people outside the prison have. Correction Department implemented policy to let them have a Methadone treatment to cure addiction.
Previously, as Global News Canada reported, four inmates who claimed they were allegedly denied of opiate replacement therapy launched a charter challenge last month. The launched charter challenge will allow them access to opiate addiction treatment, arguing they deserve the same health care they could access in the community.
Following the challenge, British Columbia Correction Department implemented the new policy. The policy allowed prisoners access to the same medical treatment as people outside the corrections system, including methadone treatment. Those four men are now under the care of doctors to cure their opiate addiction.
"Our clients are relieved that they are getting treatment. This policy change is timely given this week's announcement of a public health emergency in BC," lawyer for the inmates, Adrienne Smith, told VICE.
He also added, "The fentanyl epidemic doesn't stop at the prison gate. This is a step in the right direction to keep people well, particularly when they're at a good place being able to ask for medical support."
British Columbia declared a new policy after the province's medical health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, said that the British Columbia is facing a public health emergency. The emergency includes overdose cases involving drugs, such as the opioid-based pain killer, fentanyl. While epidemiologist at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Dr. M-J Milloy, also stated that under Canadian law, health care must be equivalent for people inside the correction facilities as for people outside.
"Anything that moves us closer to that being the reality… is a good thing," Dr. M-J Milloy said.
One of the inmates is Troy Underhill, who was locked up in Prince George Regional Correctional Centre last year. He explained the symptom he experienced from opiate withdrawal is to have aching joints, diarrhea, vomiting, hot and cold feelings, and the shakes. He started opiate medication in 2011 after hitting an elk when driving the roads and his car crashed and injuring his spine.
"I took pain medication for my back and became addicted to pills," he said. Afterward, he took a self medication to treat his back pain and avoid dope sickness. "My pain overwhelms me at times. Then I really don't care what I'm taking as long as it gives me a day's relief."
Nevertheless, recent findings showed there is an increasing risk of relapse. Forbes reported a new study revealed that people who become addicted to painkillers later in life, are more likely to relapse from methadone maintenance treatment (MMT), than other drug addicts.
Recently Correction Department has implemented a new policy to let them have a methadone treatment to cure their addiction. Although prisoners in British Columbia now have access to methedone treatment, a recent study showed an increasing risk of regression from such treatment.