Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s court system states that county judges are not responsible for banning opioid addiction drugs – wake-up calls

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Harrisburg — a battle between the U.S. Department of Justice and the leaders of the Pennsylvania court system is taking place in federal court — and the consequences can have a significant impact on those who experience it. Face opioid addiction and criminal accusations.

A federal agency sued the Pennsylvania court system in February, alleging that it discriminated against people with opioid use disorders. The Justice Department has found that several county courts in the state system have banned or restricted the use of medications prescribed to treat addiction.

The Pennsylvania Constitution gives the Supreme Court “general oversight and administrative authority over all courts and justice of the peace,” and claims that the entire court system is now responsible.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court and its executive branch lawyers are trying to persuade a federal judge to dismiss the proceedings. They argue that the court system does not have a “top-down” leadership structure like businesses, but instead consists of many parts, each with its own responsibilities.

Here’s what you need to know about the case:

Three drugs, methadone, buprenorphine, and sustained-release naltrexone, have been approved by the federal government for the treatment of opioid use disorders. According to a 2019 report from the National Academy of Science and Technology Medicine, all three are effective and life-saving.

For people with opioid use disorders, buprenorphine and methadone can reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings without causing euphoria. National Institute of Substance Abuse, Federal Office. The drug allows patients to “function normally, go to school or work, and participate in other treatments,” the report said.

The third drug, naltrexone, works to block opioid drugs and the euphoric effect of the federal government. The Department of Substance Abuse and Mental Health ServicesHere is “There is no possibility of abuse or misappropriation by naltrexone”.

The proceedings focus on those who are under the supervision of a judge.

The central argument of the Justice Department is that people with opioid use disorders should have equal opportunities to benefit from programs that act as alternatives to imprisonment. Creating unnecessary barriers to these programs is an infringement of rights under federal law.

The Justice Department began investigating the Pennsylvania court system after receiving complaints about opioid use disorder dosing bans in Jefferson County in 2018. Released in February.

The same letter alleges that both Jefferson County and Northumberland County violate American Disability Law and have or have a problematic policy about a treatment court program that acts as an alternative to imprisonment. Identified six other counties that said.

In a letter in February, the Justice Department requested that some changes be made to the state-wide court system. He filed a federal proceeding later in the month when he was not satisfied with the court system’s response.

A court order in Jefferson County banning’opium-based remedies’ in 2018 confronts Sonya Moussie with the option of stopping her doctor-prescribed medication or canceling probation and putting her in jail. did.

Mogi has been suffering from opioid addiction for over a decade, and when he stopped taking the drug he felt sick every day and was afraid of the worst. She talked to Spotlight PA earlier.

“Honestly, I thought I would relapse, and I probably intended to die,” Morcy said. “I knew my parents would probably have to bury me.”

After the judge lifted the ban, Moody said she had a “spark of hope.”

Guidance from the Federal Department of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services warns For any time limit to use Opioid use disorder drug. According to a 2019 report from the National Academy of Science and Technology Medicine, long-term treatment with buprenorphine or methadone is about 50% less likely to kill people.

“Especially in the judicial system of a large country like Pennsylvania, there is no doubt that some mistakes will be made in 60 jurisdictions,” the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and its executive branch lawyers wrote in court filings. ..

However, they argued that the Justice Department was systematic and could not provide evidence of state-wide problems. Lawyers said state-wide court leaders have already reminded county courts that they must provide sufficient support to help courts fulfill their obligations in accordance with federal requirements. And they say the state-wide system should not be held accountable for the oversight provided by judges at the local level.

They also raised many other technical debates, such as whether the Justice Department was in a position to file a proceeding.

The state-wide system has the power and responsibility to ensure that county courts do not adopt these types of comprehensive discriminatory policies, the Justice Department lawyer wrote. They argued that the district court was part of the state-wide system, not a separate legal entity, and that the disability discrimination policy of the state-wide court system was “general” and “insufficient.”

A lawyer in the Justice Department has asked a federal judge to order a Pennsylvania court to make some changes. They argue that the system needs to adopt or revise the policy to explicitly state that the courts in the system cannot discriminate against anyone because they are taking prescription opioid use disorder medications. ..

A Pennsylvania lawyer in the judicial system said in a court filing that the Justice Department may be using the proceedings “to set a national example for advancing policy.”

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Justice lawyers are increasingly using Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a recent special report, “to try to overcome some of the rampant discrimination faced by people with substance use disorders.” increase. STAT is a health-focused news organization.

With the news release in April, the department The Pennsylvania proceedings as an example of a broader response to the opioid epidemic. Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney for the Department of Civil Rights, said the agency “to prevent people with opioid use disorders from facing discriminatory barriers in advancing their lives.” He said he promised to use it.

“The court system needs to step up to the plate and make sure that these types of practices end soon,” said Sally Friedman, Senior Vice President of Legal Advocacy at the National Center for Legal Action, Pennsylvania Spot. Told Wright.

Friedman’s organization represented Moody and helped fight the 2018 Jefferson County ban. Friedman said the state’s judicial system cannot turn a blind eye to discrimination if many of the courts interfere with people’s civil rights, especially if the interference is life-threatening.

What’s next?

As of July 13, the judge in the federal district court who heard the case has not yet ruled on the motion to dismiss the court system.

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Pennsylvania’s court system states that county judges are not responsible for banning opioid addiction drugs – wake-up calls

Source link Pennsylvania’s court system states that county judges are not responsible for banning opioid addiction drugs – wake-up calls

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