Opioid Settlement Funds Should Support Incarcerated People


In the coming months, millions of dollars will flood state governments to address the escalating opioid overdose epidemic. Various legal settlements between large pharmaceutical companies and state attorneys general have led to more than $50 billion being dedicated to mitigating the record-breaking number of overdose deaths each year. Overdose fatalities are now more than double the peak of HIV deaths during the AIDS epidemic and continue to rise. With an influx of funds, policy makers have a unique opportunity to implement evidence-based strategies to address the overdose crisis. Two areas for intervention that often go overlooked: jail and prison. Due to the progression of opioid use disorder and the criminalization of drug use, individuals with the highest risk of overdose are often incarcerated in correctional facilities; behind-the-walls treatment programs have demonstrated enormous success in reducing overdoses.

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