The Maine Department of Corrections will allow a Caribou man to receive medication in prison to treat his opioid use disorder.
Zachary Smith, 30, sued the department in July. The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine filed the complaint on his behalf in U.S. District Court in Portland, claiming Smith was being denied his rights to medication in prison under the Americans with Disabilities Act. His Eighth Amendment rights, which prohibit cruel and unusual punishment, were also being violated, the lawsuit said.
The parties filed a settlement agreement in federal court Friday that will give Smith access to his regular treatment while he is in custody.
“This outcome will spare Zachary Smith from incredibly painful, and potentially deadly, forced withdrawal,” Zachary Heiden, legal director for the ACLU of Maine, said in a statement. “There is no justification for denying doctor-prescribed medication to prisoners with opioid use disorder. Withholding needed treatment actually undermines our chances of keeping people off of opiates.”