Making addiction treatment work for inmates

Warren Ferguson
February 07, 2017

AS A PHYSICIAN, who treats and supports individuals battling substance abuse, I try to be available when the call for help comes, especially from those involved with the criminal justice system.

The call for help from John, a former inmate who has struggled with addiction and cycled in and out of prison, arrived via text from an unrecognized number. He went MIA awhile back, after being a no-show for buprenorphine to treat his addiction to heroin.

“I need your help.”

John’s struggles have always gutted me. During his last relapse, he wept and pleaded for a second chance. His begging was so visceral that I felt embarrassed about the power I had.

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