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My husband was arrested on Wednesday. It is now Sunday and he won't be getting out for a long time. He's been on the Methadone Maintenance Treatment program for 7 years. He's dosing at 150 mg per day and doing fine. As long as I've known him I've never seen him do drugs. He's living a good life, but now that he's in jail, they're making him detox cold turkey. When he went in and was checked by a nurse, his blood pressure was 170/120. He's had a heart attack a few years ago, and I am afraid that all this stress, combined with the debilitating effects of this cruel detox may kill him. The jail won't tell me anything, and he's not getting the care that he needs. Help! We're in Alabama of all God-forsaken places. Thanks, a loving worried wife, Leigh Ann


Ugh, not good.
Have you called the clinic that he gets his methadone from?
I know in texas its the LAW they HAVE to give him a certain amount of days worth to detox as its just not safe to go cold turkey.
I would be calling every congressman, politician, jail administratior I could. What is the name of the clinic he goes to? In his inprocessing forms they should explain the procedure if one of their patients end up in jail. The withdrawl from methadone is long and hard and no one should suffer through it ...regardless.
Call his clinic...or go there first thing in the morning and explain the situation..they should be able to steer you in the right direction. Good luck and let me know how it goes. You'll definately be in my thoughts and prayers


my fiance is also in jail, this is now his 3rd week going cold turkey w/out methadone. luckily he had begun detoxing himself before being arrested and was only on 50mgs, he had been on the clininc for 5 years. I live in mass,& i know out here they could care less if inmates die.So depending on your state, he might be screwed. I would recommened starting a petition or writing politicans. With the upcoming election, any bad press is not good. The effects of the detox are supposed to last about 60 days, after the first 30, he should start to feel a little more normal. I know it sucks, your best bet is to get him a really good lawyer, try to get him a bail & put him in a treatment program where he can recieve the detox the correct and safe way. good luck


I am currently facing the choice between not returning to the Washington County (outside Portland, Oregon) court system to finish a trial I was half way through with, or staying away, and hoping to move out of Oregon as soon as it is reasonable.
I realize it seems like a simple choice, especially when the charge I am fighting is a misdemeanor shoplifting charge that they say happened over two years ago. Why be irresponsible, risk getting my brought in on it when I am not expecting it, living with the fear that comes with a warrant, so on and so on. Most of all, not following through is exactly the kind of behavior that as a recovering addict, I have tried hard to change.
So, why the dilemma? Because:

A) The 'incident' happened over two years ago, outside a town I no longer live in. I had no idea about any of this, because they did not stop me at the time. Instead they waited two years and then had the police come to my place of employment in Eugene, OR, three hours away, and take me to jail. I didn't find out what was going on until the next day when a Washington County detective showed up at the jail and presented me with a ticket and a date for arraignment on this Theft 2 charge. I told him I honestly did not do this, and that I would certainly get myself there to fight it.

B) Now, about 8 mos. later, I have hired my own attorney (with help), dragged myself from Eugene, on time, to at least 6 different court appearances in Washington County (some of which consisted of 30 seconds of the judge telling me when I was to appear next, even though I had already received this info in writing). I have spent countless hours, miles, and money in gas, train tickets, missed wages, etc., to comply with their system and see this through.

C) When I moved to Eugene from Portland 19 mos. ago, I had finally begun making tangible life changes in Portland, but felt like I needed a fresh, and less saturated environment to move forward in. In the first year, I got and maintained a good job that I loved, and was promoted to manager, I returned to college and finished my first term with a 3.7, I found my own apartment and maintained a good relationship with my landlord, I paid past fines and cleaned up some other minor legal messes from Portland, I started re-learning to save money and had a good stash in my bank account for future endeavors, or emergencies, I began repairing my relationship with my family, and their minds finally eased a bit. Most significantly, in this story, I maintained the Methadone Maintainence treatment I began in Portland, after the first few months switching to a clinic I found supportive, helpful, and reliable.

D) In spite of my best efforts, the experience of dealing with this case, in another town, with this particular county and the way they are infamous for doing things, I have lost my savings, had to drop classes this term due to missed classes for court appearences, as well as general stress related concentration problems, strained my most important relationships, missed various opportunities, am on thin ice in a few areas where I was golden before, and generally have become so mentally and emotionally challenged that I have had to renew my prescription for an anxiety/panic attack medication that I had, with effort and help, finally been able to get off of since moving to Eugene.
All of this, mind you, before being convicted of anything, and for fighting this charge that for once, I truly did not commit.
Still, all of these consequences ae nothing compared to the fear I feel over what may be the final consequence.

E) As I described, it is on record with the court that I have made numerous on-time appearances, coming from another city, at no small expense. I have also hired my own lawyer, who has presented them with numerous letters and other documents showing how I have been living life for the past couple years, and that I have an established life here in Oregon. Despite all of this, if I want to do the"right thing" and follow through with this case, I must turn myself in to the courts, where I will be taken into custody for at least 24 hours, up to, worst case scenario, 60 days, while awaiting my new trial date. During this time, whatever the length, I will be denied all medications, including my 110 mg daily dose of methadone, and my 2mg daily dose of clonazipam (anxiety medication). If I have my info correct, they don't even give you the 'detox meds' that other Oregon jails so generously give, like clonodine, vistrol, anti-nausea/diahrrea meds.

Why, you may wonder, would this happen if I have been following through so dutifully?
My last court appearence was supposed to be on a Friday morning, 9:00 am, Jan. 29th. My lawyer and I were there, early and prepared. We waited until 1:30 pm before the courtroom was free. We got 2/3 through the proceedings before it had to be set over for the following Tuesday, at 9:00 am. The evening before I was to appear again, my friend who was driving my car, and I, got in to a car that would not start. The last bus and trains had left, and the first morning one would not get me there in time. It was 7 pm. My neighbor/mechanic said he could fix it quickly, but could not get the part until after 6:45 the next morning. After searching for other options for travel or repair, this was the best one.
The next morning, at 7:30, my car was on the road, a 3 hour trip to Wash. Cty. ahead. When I finally got ahold of my lawyer and explained that I would be an hour or two late, it was 8:30 and I was almost half way there. He optimistically told me he would let the Judge know, and ask her to postpone the proceedings until later in the day, and send the jury to breakfast. He didn't see why she would want to declare a mistrial and put me in such a position after all we had gotten through, and since I had an unexpected, verifiable excuse. I kept driving, regaining my breath. 15 mins. later he called back. The Judge had told him that she had a rape trial that afternoon and was unwilling to give me a new trial date, instead she gave me a warrant and a no-bail hold. (held until next court date without bail)
What does this mean? Well, anywhere 1/4 way humane it might mean something different, but in Wash. Cty it means, If I was to not have a warrant, and if I want my right to trial on this charge I did not commit 2 1/2 yrs. ago, I turn myself in on a Monday and they take me into custody. That afternoon, I am arraigned (on "failure to appear"), with my lawyer present. We ask the Judge for a new trial date, and ask that I be released on my own recognizance, presenting evidence as to why this should be so. If the Judge says yes, Yay! We get to start the entire process over in 1-2 months, and I get released at 4:30 the next morning. If he says no, a trial date gets set, and I am to be held until that date (1-2 months). Then my lawyer and I still get to plead my case to the custody referees, whose main concer is if I am a "flight risk". All evidence presented will say I am not, except for that "No Bail Warrant". My lawyer says any time someone has one of those, the custody ref.s have a hard time justifying why they let the person go. If they say no, we have one more alternative to 1-2 month wait.
Give up my right to trial. Request a "Change of plea" date. That will happen in 2-5 business days. I would plead "no contest", explaining that I did not commit the crime and wanted to, in fact did, take it to trial, but in order to fight it now, I would have to lose much of my life back in Eugene, while suffering unbearable, unthinkable, consistant physical and mental torment the entire 1-2 months in custody, all before I'd been convicted of anything.
Now, 2-7 days without both my medications is scary and it is sickening me just imagining it. Not only that, but I have to give up my right to trial, or suffer the same fate for up to 60 days. I am also told that with this plea, the court can still sentence me to more jail time on top of what I spent waiting, since a 'no contest' means the same thing on the sentencing grid as 'guilty'.

While this is already a long story, and there are many angles I would speak from on this matter, I will stick to the subject of the witholding of prescribed, necessary medication while incarcirated, and even before being convicted of a crime or sentenced.

My lawyer asked me to send him, among other things, a list of the symptoms of cold turkey withdrawal from both Methadone, and Clonazapam to present to the judges and custody referees. His point will be to illustrate, to judges in particular, how sentencing someone on a medication such as methadone to any jail time is not at all the same punishment as giving someone not on such meds to the same length of time. Also, Methadone is not only a LEGAL PRESCRIPTION but the effects of it's cold-turkey detox last far, far longer that those of heroin and other short acting opiates, and they do not even begin improving until after around the first month. That means no sleep, no ability to relax, lay down comfortably or even tolerably, yet not enough energy to get up and actually DO anything. No ability to concentrate, therfore you cannot even read or write for any length of time. Then there is sneezing until your throat hurts, and you feel like you have to cough, or try to clear it. Then that causes you to gag, which eventually causes you to vomit, which usually lasts for a while, because the vomiting worsens the throat irritation, and so on, until you have been dry heaving so long that you can't breathe and you truly feel like you might vomit up one of your internal organs. Eventually your body will calm itself for a while, so that you can collapse into a sweating shivering heap until the next round of coughing and heaving. I've never gotten to this point, but sometimes, you will be unable to even get yourself to a toilet to do all this, and you may become incontinent as well. You are dehydrated, but at it's hard to drink. It's hard to want to eat anything, and when you do, you crave nothing but sugar. There is goosebumps, crawling skin, cold sweats, etc. etc. And through all this, even in the most loving caring environment, your heart and soul feel black and empty, sick and terrified. Your mind reels with the most unformed but vivid images and thoughts of lonliness, cold negativity, much of which is brought on by the chemical changes in your brain, both by the sudden lack of the medication and the violent physical experience you are having. That's the mental and semotional experience in the most loving of environments, so imagine what it might become in the most un-loving, cold place imaginable, where when you speak to most of the employees, (who have control over every aspect of your life, and acess to any information you may want or need) even in the most calm and rational way, you are regarded as would be an annoying dog barking at them, not a human being speaking the same language as them.

This is the first time I have had a lawyer suggest presenting this as a factor to the courts. I have thought of suggesting it before, but I have never gotten to the point where the situation was THIS unfair, and the prospects THIS inhumane, and where I have been THIS innocent, even un-convicted.

The issue of medication-witholding in jails varies from state to state, county to county. Here in Oregon, which is the only place I have had experience with the legal system, their policies are unbelievable, and Washington County in particular is notorious in many ways. While I have made my mistakes, and I accept that whatever the nature of the legal system, I was responsible for allowing myself to get snared up in it in the first place. That is how I came to be charged with a shoplifting I did not commit. It is also how I came to be incarcerated for the first time three years ago in Multnomah County, for a shoplifting charge I did commit in my addiction, but had been running from for some time. By the time I was caught up, I had begun to get my life a little more on track. I had gotten off street drugs and was on Buprenorphine. I had been on it for about 6 mos., and was still ad the higher starting dose. Despite my legal prescription, which I picked up at a pharmacy once a month and took hom (unlike daily dosing methadone clinics), and despite confirmation of this, including a new, unfilled script that I told the officers I had in my wallet, I was cut off cold turkey. I was held for 30 days without being sentenced, while I went through a series of court dates. At my final one, I was sentenced to time served and let out. By this point, I had lost my prescription, as my doctor though after 30 days I should ffel good enough to stay off opiates. He failed to consider that, physically I had been in a terribly unhealthy environment, and mentally I was in a state I had never been in before.

I was manic, clinically, and I had never been so before. I couldn't even recognize it, but those who knew me did. I still had lingering symptoms of withdrawal sickness, such as inability to sleep for any real length of time, etc. My decision making skills were non existent. After my last month, it was like absolutely anything would be better, so who cares! I blew off the few friends who offered help and places to stay, in favor of taking to the streets with a 22 year old heroin addict, whom I of course began using with, and so, once again, shoplifting with. In 30 days, I had lost 20 lbs, my sanity, my home all my money, most of my posessions, my relationship with my mother, my job, my medication, and regained my need for heroin and shoplifting.

Even if the courts, prosecuters, police, and those who control or affect their decisions, don't care about anyone labeled "criminal", then they should care about the effect of those individuals on society. And what good does this torture (and it is) do for the community, for the victims of these minor or non violent crimes? Is there anything an average citizen can do to be heard about this by someone capable of enacting change? What about someone like myself, with no felonies, but a petty criminal past none the less?

When I think about this subject I get sicker and more fearful than I have ever felt in my life. My experiences with the legal system, especially regarding their use of med. witholding as a torture device/threat, have left me a different person, and left a black fear deep in my heart that I continue to try to work to get rid of but I don't know how.

I guess I needed to be heard. And any advice on what can be done about any of these cruelties, especially in Oregon, and especially regarding who you contact to state your case regading the overall policies of jails, or a particular judges decision?

Thank you to anyone who actually kept reading.


We live in Texas and my husband was on methadone 120 mg he was arrested and they were informed he was on methadone. I called the clinic where he was dosing and they said there was nothing they could do. He would suffer but it wouldn't kill him. well it almost did. The first four days he suffered severe cramps and couldnt sleep or eat. He thought the worst was over. I went to visit him today and he informed me on the 8th day he had severe nasua and then got extremely hot and disoriented, I think he was near a stroke. He called for help and  they took him to the hospital by ambulance where he was treated for extremely high B.P. and 90M.G. og mrthadone he was informed the jail Dr. had him on the wrong medications. He told me the E.R. Dr. informed him this can be fatal. He was not given time to detox. He was also denied his B.P. medication that I took to the jail the day after his arrest. He wasnt given that until 3 days later. I was not informed of his near fatal incident. The clinic where he was getting his methadone was wrong. He has been in jail for 2 weeks now and I fear this may not be over. This is cruel for anyone to suffer methadone withdrawl in jail.