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Program credited with cutting prison drug overdoses by more than half

cal prisons peter theony.jpg
Peter Theony
/
Flickr / Creative Commons

It’s called the Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment program and it was introduced in California’s prison system two years ago.

It uses prescription drugs to treat addicted inmates to reduce cravings and withdrawal as they are weaned off opiods. And, according to a recent report, it’s working.

The Associated Press reports that more than 22-thousand inmates received the treatment – about a quarter of the state’s prison population. According to the report, overdose deaths dropped from 51-per-100-thousand inmates in 2019 to 20-per-100-thousand inmates two years later.

Officials estimate that more than 60 percent of those incarcerated have substance abuse problems.

Also according to the report, drug overdoses were the third-leading cause of death among inmates before the start of the program. Two years later, overdoses dropped to eighth-highest cause of death – the lowest ranking in nine years.