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3 Men Will Continue To Receive Addiction Medication In Prison Under Settlement With ACLU

Three men in state prison will continue to receive their opioid addiction medication under a settlement reached Friday with the Massachusetts Department of Correction.

The ACLU of Massachusetts had filed the suit after the men said they were told they'd only receive their buprenorphine prescriptions for up to 90 days.

Buprenorphine, which is sold under the brand name Subutex, is a medication used to treat opioid addiction.

"What we hope is that this settlement today will be a first step toward making sure that everyone who is incarcerated in Massachusetts and who is experiencing opioid use disorder gets access to the medication that they need," said ACLU of Massachusetts legal director Matthew Segal.

The department had previously agreed to continue giving the men their medication while the legal challenge played out. Segal said the settlement today ensures they'll receive their prescriptions for the duration of their sentences.

"All addiction treatment decisions for inmates at DOC facilities are made by independent clinicians and the department does not have a policy restricting the dosage or length of treatment for medically necessary [medication assisted treatment]," a DOC spokesman said Friday.

The settlement follows a series of lawsuits filed recently by the ACLU to increase access to addiction medication in jails and prisons. In November 2018, a federal court judge ordered jail officials to provide a man with methadone for the duration of his sentence at the Essex County House of Correction.

Last June, the Federal Bureau of Prisons agreed to provide a Massachusetts woman her prescribed methadone treatment throughout the course of her incarceration.

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Walter Wuthmann Twitter Freelance Producer
Walter Wuthmann is a freelance producer for Radio Boston and WBUR's Newscast.

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