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Deaths From Withdrawal Are Preventable

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Deaths from withdrawal in jails are preventable—as are the litigation and suffering by all associated with it. State, local, and tribal government officials and jail administrators can prevent deaths by establishing withdrawal management policy and protocols to comport with legal, regulatory, and clinical standards.

Litigation stemming from inadequate medical care increases costs to local governments, jails, and health care providers:

  • Large financial settlements or judgements
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Court-enforced remediation
  • Time
  • Resource use

For more information on the scope of the challenge:

Managing Substance Withdrawal in Jails: A Legal Brief - provides an overview of key legislation and significant court cases related to substance withdrawal and outlines steps for creating a comprehensive response for individuals with substance use disorders.

Dying Inside: To End Deaths of Despair, Address the Crisis in Local Jails - outlines the legal framework on the right to adequate care and treatment in jails for medical, mental health, and substance use disorder.

Addressing Drug-Related Deaths in Custody: Legal Standards, Litigation Strategies, Reforms, and Available Funding Webinar - summarizes the legal framework of the duties of jails to provide adequate care and treatment for medical, mental health, and substance-related conditions, highlighting research findings on civil litigation related to deaths in jail custody and reviewing ways correctional facilities can improve health outcomes for individuals who are incarcerated.


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