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Addressing Drug-Related Deaths in Custody: Legal Standards, Litigation, Strategies, Reforms and Available Funding

The addiction and overdose epidemic has drawn increasing attention to the challenges and opportunities for identifying and providing treatment to people who are incarcerated with substance use disorders, including management of withdrawal symptoms from opioids, alcohol, and other substances and provision of evidence-based treatment.

The Addiction and Public Policy Initiative at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law will outline the legal framework of the duties of jails to provide adequate care and treatment for medical, mental health, and substance-related conditions and will highlight the findings of original research on recent civil litigation related to deaths in jail custody. The presentation will review ways in which correctional facilities can improve health outcomes for individuals who are incarcerated. It will also cover reforms under development/discussion, strategies and resources, and available funding to address the opioid epidemic.


  • Shelly R. Weizman, JD, Addiction and Public Policy Initiative, O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law; Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center


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