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Hamilton County jail introduces buprenorphine-aided treatment for inmates addicted to substances

In an effort to keep inmates experiencing opioid withdrawal from dying, Hamilton County jail in Cincinnati has introduced a buprenorphine-aided treatment program with its health care provider. With this, the jail became the first in Ohio to provide buprenorphine to such prisoners, according to Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neal. The main objective of this initiative is to offer the life-saving medication to inmates languishing in the throes of opioid withdrawal.

For the initiative, the Hamilton County jail has partnered with NaphCare, a leading provider of health care services to thousands of patients in nearly 27 prisons across the country. “It’s an indirect path, and people are at risk of dying. Buprenorphine helps quell the symptoms and provide a safer withdrawal,” said NaphCare Chief Executive Brad McLane.

As per McLane, the Hamilton County jail is the tenth in the country to avail NaphCare’s buprenorphine-aided withdrawal program. He said that prisoners were administered an under-the-tongue dissolving buprenorphine film to manage the withdrawal symptoms and kept under the strict observation of a nurse or corrections officer to ensure that the medication was taken properly.

According to doctors and health care professionals, chronic users of opioids, including prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl, can experience vomiting and diarrhea during withdrawal, leading to dehydration, and even death in certain cases. In the current opioid crisis, prison staff are witnessing several such tragic scenes every day. Experts say if used as directed, buprenorphine doesn’t trigger euphoric sensations and helps subside the urges to use opioids. Although the use of the medication can help prevent unnecessary withdrawal symptoms, medical practitioners have warned that misuse can lead to abuse.

NaphCare launched its program over a year ago at the Washington County jail in Hillsboro, Oregon. In Ohio, the company had to seek approval of the Ohio medical and pharmacy boards to provide the treatment to inmates of Hamilton County jail.

Opioid addiction is treatable

Opioid medications prove to be effective, if taken as prescribed by a doctor. However, misuse or non-medical use may lead to addiction, causing people to struggle with painful withdrawal symptoms. In fact, studies show that immediately after alcohol and marijuana, opioids are the most widely abused class of drugs in the U.S. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 11.8 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past year.

Drug overdose deaths involving opioids are on the rise across the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 66 percent of overdose deaths involved an opioid in 2016. In the same year, the number of overdose deaths related to opioid drugs (including prescription opioids and heroin) was five times higher than in 1999. On an average, 115 Americans die due to an opioid overdose every day. At this juncture, only evidence-based treatments can reverse the life-wrecking effects of lethal opioids. One should not forget that drug addiction can have life-threatening implications, if not treated in time.

Sobriety is not only about getting clean, but also about staying so for the lifetime. Sustaining sobriety can be difficult, especially when opioid drugs are easily available in the markets. At Sovereign Alumni Services, we stay in touch with all our alumni regularly to ensure a long-lasting bond after they leave our facilities. We are dedicated to providing a continuing support system to our former patients to aid them in their journey to recovery. If you are looking for a similar support system, call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-501-9425 or chat online with one of our representatives for more information.

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