American Medical Association Meeting

American Medical Association Meeting

Source: Press Release


Disclosures: Healio Primary Care could not confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.
June 16, 2021
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AMA advocates for prisoners’ access to addiction treatment

Source: Press Release


Disclosures: Healio Primary Care could not confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.
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The AMA House of Delegates recently updated a policy that seeks to increase access to evidence-based drug addiction treatment among “justice-involved individuals,” a press release said.

The updated policy expands the AMA’s existing recommendations to include making medication treatment for opioid use disorder as the standard of care for patients who are in jail or prison, including those who are pregnant, postpartum or parenting. The updated policy also reinforces the need to screen for mental health and substance use disorders (SUDs) upon entry and ensure treatment is available for patients after incarceration, the AMA said in the release.

Image of a prison cell block
The AMA House of Delegates recently updated a policy that it hopes will increase access to evidence-based drug addiction treatment among prison inmates. Photo source: Adobe Stock

Approximately 65% of the prison population in the United States has an active SUD, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency also noted that inadequate treatment during incarceration can lead to overdoses and deaths when inmates leave prison. In announcing the expanded policy, the AMA cited data that indicated more than 90,000 overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. during the 12-month period that ended in November 2020.

“Access to medication treatment in correctional facilities is not only protected by the law, but it is essential for providing evidence-based care for our patients with a substance use disorder,” Willie Underwood III, MD, MS, MPH, an AMA Board of Trustees member, said in a press release. “We call on all jails, prisons, drug diversion and community re-entry programs to save lives by ensuring access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment.”

References

AMA. AMA calls for access to substance use disorder treatment in prisons, jails. Available at: https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/ama-calls-access-substance-use-disorder-treatment-prisons-jails. Accessed June 16, 2021.

CDC. Provisional drug overdose death counts. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm. Accessed June 16, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Criminal justice drug facts. Available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/criminal-justice. Accessed June 16, 2021.