Judge: Jail must provide drug used in opioid treatment

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal judge has ordered a Maine jail to provide medication-assisted treatment to an inmate who contends it’s necessary to keep her opioid addiction in remission.

The judge granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday requiring the Aroostook County Jail to provide physician-prescribed buprenorphine to Brenda Smith.

The Madawaska resident says the drug, sold under the name Suboxone, alleviates painful withdrawal symptoms and reduces the possibility of a relapse.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine calls the judge’s ruling “a breakthrough in the fight against the opioid crisis.” The ACLU sued on Smith’s behalf.

The ruling comes at a time when jails and prisons across the country are starting to provide addiction medications to inmates, as resistance from long-skeptical corrections officials appears to be waning amid the national drug epidemic.

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