Intoxication and Withdrawal


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Please resolve a dispute we are having at our large jail. Who should be responsible for providing detoxification services, the physician or the psychiatrist? The responsibility was not explicitly addressed in either of their staff contracts.

Essential standard J-G-06 Intoxication and Withdrawal requires that these services be provided to inmates who need them. Such services may be provided on-or off-site, depending on the severity of the clinical condition of a patient.

Compliance Indicator 4 says, “Detoxification is done only under physician supervision in accordance with local, state, and federal laws.” However, it does not specify who is to provide the service. This must be determined by the responsible health authority at each level as part of that authority’s responsibility to establish practitioner qualifications and to enter into contracts and agreements.

The health authority must see that the service is provided one way or another. Further, the facility must provide the full continuum of care as needed, whether in a community hospital or in a specialized jail setting with staff and procedures that meet the inmates’ medical and psychological needs.
— From CorrectCare Volume 20, Issue 1, Winter 2006