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In a Nationwide First, Court Orders Jail to Provide Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder to All Individuals in Class-Action Suit

NEW YORK – Today, in M.C. v. Jefferson County, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York issued an order preliminarily blocking the Jefferson County Correctional Facility from denying prescribed treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), and certifying the lawsuit to proceed as a class action. This is the first class-wide preliminary injunction in the nation granting access to medication for OUD, such as methadone or buprenorphine, at a jail.

“People with opioid use disorder, no less than anyone else at the Jefferson County Correctional Facility, deserve access to effective care for their medical needs,” said NYCLU senior staff attorney Antony Gemmell. “We are gratified by today’s decision, which affords immediate relief to class members and sends a powerful warning to jails that deny access to these life-saving treatments.”

Today’s decision follows the court’s preliminary injunction and emergency order on behalf of M.C., issued hours after his arrest, requiring the jail to continue his prescribed methadone treatment. M.C. is one of two representatives in the NYCLU’s class-action lawsuit against Jefferson County over its practice of denying MOUD to those behind bars. In its order, the Court concluded that the ban would likely be found to violate the Constitution and the ADA. The court blocked the same jail from ending methadone treatment for NYCLU client P.G, in which the Court found P.G. likely to succeed on claims that the jail’s blanket ban on methadone treatment is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

You can find the order and more materials on the case here:

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