Court case to tackle jails' medication-assisted treatment

Posted at 2:56 PM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-11 14:56:57-05

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has started making its case in federal court 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. She testified Monday in a court case that is expected to last all week.

The lawsuit 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.