There's an interesting discussion taking place surrounding the jail sentence of Julie Eldred. The following info was cut and pasted from this site.
"Julie Eldred [originally convicted of theft-related charges] was a drug addict on criminal probation – which required her to stay clean. She was trying to. But as so often happens, she couldn’t. The judge sent her to jail for 10 days. Is that what our society ought to do? Is relapse a crime requiring time behind bars – or a symptom of disease requiring treatment? ..."
"The irony is both dark and profound: Only in death do drug users become victims. Until then, they are criminals. In addition, a vast majority of American prisons deny opioid addicts access to medication-assisted therapy, or MAT, which uses Food and Drug Administration-approved medications that can relieve opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Most addiction specialists say MAT is far and away the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder."
One "argument, which is shared by many medical professionals, is that incarceration poses a threat to the recovery process—not that court-ordered drug treatment or testing is unfair, or that criminal sanctions shouldn’t be imposed on probationers who don’t comply with treatment. Eldred had been on a regime of anti-craving medicine, Suboxone, for five days when she relapsed.
'From a therapeutic perspective, it is very disruptive to put somebody in a position where they’re afraid if they talk about relapse—or even talk about cravings to relapse—they could be jailed,' said Newman-Polk, who previously worked as an addiction counselor. 'If the court feels that addiction treatment is a necessary probation condition, then the court system shouldn’t interrupt the treatment process.'”
The case, set to decide if requiring probationers to remain clean is constitutional is currently pending in the Massachusetts Supreme Court.
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