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The Evolving Medicolegal Precedent for Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in U.S. Jails and Prisons.


Medications for opioid use disorder, also known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT), are critical in the treatment of opioid use disorder. Historically, inmates with opioid use disorder in U.S. jails and prisons have had difficulty accessing these medications, particularly methadone and buprenorphine. A series of recent legal cases, however, have set an evolving precedent for prisoners' rights to medications for opioid use disorder during incarceration based on the Eighth Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition to reviewing these cases, this article evaluates the recent clinical and research landscape in which these cases arose and highlights the need for further study into the role of medications in reducing in-prison morbidity and mortality from opioid use disorder.

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