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New program to treat opioid withdrawal at Spokane jail

September 8, 2018

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A program starting Monday at the Spokane County Jail aims to prevent inmates from dying of opioid withdrawal.

The Spokesman-Review reports the county, along with the private contractor that provides medical care to inmates, NaphCare Inc., made the announcement Thursday.

They will begin offering a drug called buprenorphine to inmates who suffer from opioid addiction and present “sufficiently severe withdrawal symptoms” while in custody.

Like methadone, which is administered to some inmates through the local health district, buprenorphine binds to opioid receptors in the brain to treat dangerous and debilitating illness that occurs when addicted people are cut off from drugs such as heroin.

The new program will begin as officials continue to investigate eight deaths in Spokane County’s custody since June 2017.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

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