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Managing Substance Withdrawal in Jails: A Legal Brief

A disproportionate number of people in jails have substance use disorders (SUDs). Incarceration provides a valuable opportunity for identifying SUD and addressing withdrawal. Within the first few hours and days of detainment, individuals who have suddenly stopped using alcohol, opioids, or other drugs may experience withdrawal symptoms, particularly when they have used the substances heavily or long-term. Without its identification and timely subsequent medical attention, withdrawal can lead to serious injury or death. Deaths from withdrawal are preventable, and jail administrators have a pressing responsibility to establish and implement withdrawal policy and protocols that will save lives and ensure legal compliance.

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February 1, 2022

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