Court case to tackle jails' medication-assisted treatment

Criminal Law

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine started making its case in federal court on Monday against the ban on medication-assisted treatment in county jail amid the opioid crisis.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills recently lifted the Maine Department of Corrections' ban on medication-assisted treatment. The ACLU's lawsuit filed in September argued that it's unconstitutional and harmful for Maine jails to prohibit such treatment.

Madawaska resident Brenda Smith sued, asking to continue using medication-assisted treatment to keep her opioid use disorder in remission. Smith, who is expected to report to Aroostook County Jail this year, testified Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland during a court case that is expected to last all week.

Smith wept on the stand while describing how access to the medicine is critical to stabilizing her life. ACLU lawyers said they will spend the week making the case that such access is a constitutional issue, as well as a protected right under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

"It makes me feel normal, like I'm a normal human being," Smith said.

Smith's lawsuit against the jail 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 loosening amid the national drug epidemic.

Attorneys for the jail have pushed back at the idea that a ban on medically assisted treatment is a violation of a prisoner's rights. Attorney Peter Marchesi, an attorney representing the jail Monday, has previously said medical staff members at the jail have the ability to manage prisoners' withdrawal symptoms.

Monday's court action also included an expert witness, Dr. Ross MacDonald, who has overseen medical care for New York City's jail system. The medical literature supports medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, and it's important to have that option available to prisoners, he said.

Related listings

  • Rwandan court drops all charges against opposition figure

    Rwandan court drops all charges against opposition figure

    Criminal Law 12/04/2018

    to her election challenge of President Paul Kagame, as judges said the prosecution failed to provide proof of insurrection and forgery.Diane Rwigara’s case has drawn global attention as Kagame again faces pressure to give more space to critics ...

  • Rancorous, partisan start for Kavanaugh high court hearing

    Rancorous, partisan start for Kavanaugh high court hearing

    Criminal Law 09/08/2018

    Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh declared fervently at his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday the court "must never, never be viewed as a partisan institution." But that was at the end of a marathon day marked by rancorous exchanges between Dem...

  • Oklahoma lawsuit against opioid makers back in state court

    Oklahoma lawsuit against opioid makers back in state court

    Criminal Law 08/06/2018

    A U.S. judge determined Friday that a lawsuit the state of Oklahoma filed against the makers of opioids does not "necessarily rise" to a federal issue.The ruling by U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange in Oklahoma City sends the matter back to st...

New Rochelle, New York Personal Injury Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Kommer, Bave & Ollman, LLP, in New Rochelle, New York, immediately. We can answer all your questions and work with you to determine if you have the grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. The attorneys at our firm are determined to resolve even the most difficult of cases. We will work closely with you to determine the best course of action to get your claim or case resolved in the most efficient way possible. We will fight for your right to compensation! No one should have to suffer a financial burden from the result of another person’s carelessness. The attorneys at Kommer, Bave & Ollman, LLP will aggressively fight to ensure that justice is served on your behalf.

Business News

Canton, MI Criminal Law Attorney Rita White is a metro Detroit area attorney with a focus on criminal defense. >> read