Dec 14, 2018

Inmates need better addiction treatment

Photo: Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The law firm Akin Gump is arguing that inmates are being wrongly denied treatment for opioid addiction, and that there’s a strong case for lawsuits to force the criminal justice system to treat them (first spotted by Joshua Sharfstein), per a memo written by Akin Gump for Bloomberg American Health Initiative.

Why it matters: If people don’t get treatment in jail or prison, they’re at extreme risk of overdosing when they get out, according to the memo. That’s because inmates aren’t using opioids while incarcerated, so their tolerance goes way down.

The law firm suggests 2 main avenues for lawsuits:

  • The Eighth Amendment: Denying adequate medical treatment could be considered a form of cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Federal civil rights laws: Denying treatment could be considered a form of discrimination against people with disabilities (especially under the Americans with Disabilities Act).

Between the lines: It’s not a shocker that a law firm is suggesting lawsuits — and it acknowledges there hasn’t been a legal precedent yet that establishes a right to treatment for inmates.

  • But don’t be surprised if this becomes a new legal movement, as the public health community looks for new ways to reduce deaths from opioid overdoses.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 1,450,343 — Total deaths: 83,568 — Total recoveries: 308,617Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 399,979 — Total deaths: 12,912 — Total recoveries: 22,539Map.
  3. Business updates: Roughly one-third of U.S. apartment renters didn't make April payments.
  4. Federal government latest: The U.S. has begun to see "glimmers of hope" despite its highest recorded number of deaths in 24 hours, Anthony Fauci said.
  5. Public health latest: Surgeon General Jerome Adams highlighted the disproportionate impact the illness is having on African-American communities.
  6. World latest: Indians look to Taiwan amid China's coronavirus missteps
  7. 🚌 Public transit: Systems across the country are experiencing ridership collapse, squeezed funding streams and slow recovery from the pandemic.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Bernie Sanders suspends presidential campaign

Photo: ANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign.

The big picture: It's an end to the campaign of the leading progressive in the race — and the candidate who seemed to be the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination just a few months ago. It also makes Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee four months before the party's convention in Milwaukee.

Indians look to Taiwan amid China's coronavirus missteps

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Many Indians are angry at China and the World Health Organization for their perceived mishandling of the coronavirus. The efficiency and transparency of Taiwan's response to the epidemic, in contrast, has made it a topic of renewed sympathy and interest in India.

Why it matters: The coronavirus crisis is showcasing Taiwan's democratic system of governance on an international stage, the biggest soft power win for the country in years.

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