Managing Substance Withdrawal in Jails: A Legal Brief

Posted Feb 16, 2022

Deaths from withdrawal in jails are preventable, and jail administrators have a pressing responsibility to establish and implement withdrawal policy and protocols that will save lives and ensure legal compliance. 

Managing Substance Withdrawal in Jails: A Legal Brief, recently published on the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s website, addresses substance withdrawal in jails, describes the scope of the challenge, provides an overview of key legislation and significant court cases, and outlines steps for creating a comprehensive response for individuals with substance use disorders. 

The brief was developed by Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Corrections, along with the support of Georgetown University Law Center.

Guidelines to help jail administrators detect and manage withdrawal are being developed by BJA, in partnership with NIC and in conjunction with NCCHC, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and AHP. The guidelines, to be published later this year, will address acute withdrawal from alcohol, sedative-hypnotic drugs, opioids, and stimulants among individuals in custody. 

BJA, NIC, NCCHC, ASAM, and AHP collectively are working with an expert advisory committee of clinical and nonclinical experts in addiction medicine, correctional health care, and jail administration to develop the guidelines. They will be informed by best and evidence-based medical practice, while accounting for the practical realities of medically managed withdrawal in jails.

Read the brief >>