In response to a lawsuit, a Massachusetts Commission is recommending that men with substance abuse issues not be sent to prison for treatment.
On March 29, 2019, the Commonwealth was formally served with John Doe v. Mici et al concerning the practice of men being sent to prisons for addiction treatment.
Some of the Section 35 Commission recommendations are:
1. The Commonwealth should expand development of low-threshold, treatment on demand including harm reduction interventions in community-based settings, immediate access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and expansion of bridge clinics, addiction consult services, outreach and engagement programs, post-overdose intervention programs, syringe services programs, and family intervention programs.
2. The Commonwealth should ensure continuity of care post-discharge between Section 35 facilities and community-based facilities.
3. The Commonwealth should identify alternative pathways in addition to the current court-based process, to civilly-commit individuals for addiction treatment.
The Commission did not support forcing hospitalization.