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November 14, 2006

Those Heroin Addict Prisoners

I thought there was something a little odd about those prisoners suing (and getting an out of court settlement) for not being allowed to take heroin in prison.

That wan't quite the story at all.

Mr Phillips, an air conditioning fitter from Chatham, Kent, said he was given nothing for his drug addiction for three months after which he collapsed at Elmley Prison on the Isle of Sheppey. Only then was he given sleeping tablets and for 10 days, a drug called subutex.

"Those of us who have done this lawsuit are not money-grasping," Mr Phillips, 38, told the Sun. "We are deserving cases. I have received a letter saying I should get my money in 28 days. When I was sent to prison I was on a methadone prescription. Once inside I was given nothing at all.

It would appear that it isn't about the heroin at all, rather about whatever drug treatment they ere or were not offered for the effects of not being on it. I'm sure there are those who will disagree but I don't think it all that appalling that the Home Office should indeed be held responsible for the standard of medical care that people under their control (they are, after all, banged up) get. In fact, I'd say it was eminently sensible that addicts should get their methadone or, if they are indeed coming off that, the sleeping tablets and other drugs (muscle relaxants isn't it?) to help them do so.

November 14, 2006 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink

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Comments

Tim,

I live in fear of some mean-spirited pious Scotch prig dubbing me up to the thought police and having to spend a night in the cells without medication.

Just a teacher has an in loco parentis duty of care to a child under their control, so too the State assumes a similar duty when it imprisons an individual. The medical arguments concerning methadone's efficacy and the public interest in ensuring that prescription drugs aren't bartered on prison wings notwithstanding, if such prisoners also held the status of 'patient' before their incarceration they do not lose that status immediately afterwards.

Posted by: Martin | Nov 14, 2006 9:39:34 AM

"I don't think it all that appalling that the Home Office should indeed be held responsible for the standard of medical care that people under their control (they are, after all, banged up) get."

Well, hopefully no one would disagree with this. So, that leaves the question of why it didn't happen in these cases? Policy, or incompeence on the part of the prison authorities..?

Posted by: JuliaM | Nov 14, 2006 11:30:07 AM

"I don't think it all that appalling that the Home Office should indeed be held responsible for the standard of medical care that people under their control (they are, after all, banged up) get."

Well, hopefully no one would disagree with this. So, that leaves the question of why it didn't happen in these cases? Policy, or incompetence on the part of the prison authorities..?

Posted by: JuliaM | Nov 14, 2006 11:31:51 AM

And it's not just these drugs. It seems that the doctors in Prison's don't like proscribing any drugs whatsoever. People who go into prison who have been on pain killers can have the prison doctor cut them off cold turkey because he can just ignore what your own doctor, with years of your history, based on his own expert opinion of a few notes in your record. My mate had his painkillers cut off and was offered aspirin as an alternative. Letters from his solicitor and doctor were ignored. He was in agony for months.

On the other hand heroin seems to be freely available. Go figure.

Posted by: Dave Petterson | Nov 14, 2006 3:28:17 PM

"People who go into prison who have been on pain killers can have the prison doctor cut them off cold turkey..."

Given the possible implications of this, I'm not surprised the Home Office settled......

This seems to be a completely mad policy, and bound to lead to claims eventually. Why was it allowed to run for so long?

Posted by: JuliaM | Nov 14, 2006 5:03:31 PM

I don't think if its good to those heroin addicts to incarcerate in the prison. They need treatment rather than imprisonment.

-jomie-

Posted by: california drug rehab center | Jun 18, 2009 2:11:38 AM