NPR Explores Broken Prison Recovery System
We’ve already shared our thoughts on the mistaken way that addiction crimes are classified. And now NPR Radio is taking the concept one step further, highlighting the “broken” prison system and its poor attempts to rehabilitate drug offenders.
NPR’s expose illustrates some scary statistics about drug abusers once they are released from their jail stints. According to their research, incarcerated users are eight times more likely to die from an overdose immediately after release than at other times in their lives.
Many of their numbers were drawn from opioid abusers, who are forced to go into a cold turkey detox once they enter the penal system. As researcher Dr. Heidi Ginter explained, staying away from the drug makes their tolerance go down and their cravings go up. So once released, the likelihood of an overdose is greatly increased.
Ginter called these types of sentences “indirectly fatal” and emphasized the importance of proper treatment programs behind bars. In regards to opioid addictions, she recommended a methadone recovery program that would address the physical dependencies that these types of users suffer from.
“This is a human rights issue,” Ginter emphasized. “If somebody with diabetes eats a piece of cake at a birthday party, they don’t get incarcerated. And their doctor doesn’t say, ‘Now I’m not going to prescribe your insulin because you ate a piece of cake.’ ”