Withdrawal Management in Jails: Treating Withdrawal Syndrome
Gordon Graham here with Todays Tip from Lexipol. Today’s tip is for corrections officers and it’s about inmates suffering from drug withdrawal syndrome while in our custody.
Please develop a positive, medically-based response plan to address inmates with Withdrawal Syndrome. Train all staff on the identification of symptoms, and on the proper response. Saving lives is at the top of our priority list.
Jails and custody facilities across the country are housing inmates who are active users of heroin, fentanyl, and all sorts of other legitimate and illicit opioids. All of which are highly addictive.
Addicts are prone to Withdrawal Syndrome when they abruptly stop using these drugs. This can be uncomfortable, painful, unhealthy, and sometimes even fatal. If an inmate in your jail is suffering from Withdrawal Syndrome, it is an issue you have to deal with.
The truth is, we may not yet fully understand the depth of this problem. According to a recent survey, less than 25% of jail inmates who needed treatment for substance abuse or dependence actually received it. And only 2 percent received withdrawal management services.
Aside from the obvious human tragedy, jails are also at financial risk from litigation if they fail to provide appropriate care. Allowing an inmate to go through withdrawal without proper medical supervision may be a violation of the inmate’s constitutional rights. Failing to provide medical treatment for inmates with withdrawal symptoms could be as well.
What can you do? First, learn to recognize the problem. Everyone in your jail shares in this responsibility. Does your agency train on this topic? You should. Do you know the symptoms of Withdrawal Syndrome? I hope so. Would you be able to recognize it if you see it? You must. Does your agency have a response plan in place? Does everyone know and understand it?
Please develop a positive, medically-based response plan to address inmates with Withdrawal Syndrome. Train all staff on the identification of symptoms, and on the proper response. Saving lives is at the top of our priority list. Let’s keep it there.
And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.