Heroin Addicts Beg To Go to Jail

Rock bottom for a heroin addict sounds like this: “Either I get help, or I’m going to die.” The rising death rates from heroin abuse points to the tragic choice too many have made. The issue is so dire that many heroin addicts choose to go to jail to get treatment. Many don’t have insurance ,and even if they do the wait time to get into a detox program is too long. In Massachusetts, about 8,000 people this year have been committed to jail for substance abuse—up about 40% from five years ago. (Officials don’t know how many of those commitments were voluntary.)  

Confinement represents a guaranteed bed in an inpatient program that the state pays for if a health plan doesn’t. But it doesn’t always go smoothly, NPR reports. “Sometimes drug users want to find out where they’re likely to be sent — a private treatment center or a prison program — before agreeing to go. If it’s prison, because there aren’t enough beds open at the private center, some try to stop the commitment process after it starts.”

It adds that until “until someone can reliably pick up the phone and get help right away, the courts will remain a key part of the treatment chain.”

Source: NPR