Posts Tagged ‘new york city’

 

Heroin and Prison in New York City, New York

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Just recently there was a study done and it was led by Sungwoo Lim of the New York City Department of health and mental Hygiene.  They looked at 155,000 people released from New York City jails over five years and what they found was that former inmates were twice as likely as other city residents to die of a drug overdose or homicide.  Those risk were especially high in the first two weeks after release and that is five to eight times greater compared with other New Yorkers’ risk during the same two week period.  It was also found that some other inmates had elevated risks of suicide that was including whites and people who had been homeless before going to jail.  All of these finds did appear in the American Journal of Epidemiology and they are in line with studies from other parts of the US and in the UK and Australia.  With all of these studies they have come up with the idea that there is a need for more programs.  They are suggesting mental health counseling and drug abuse treatment to be offered in jail and then something to help them in the community after they are released.

A fact that has been noted just recently is that more than half of Americans behind bars have symptoms of some type of psychiatric disorder, ranging from schizophrenia to major depression.  Most of these inmates meet the definition of drug or alcohol dependence.  It is also very interesting that only one fourth of these inmates receive mental health treatment while incarcerated.

Dr. Josiah D. Rich, said, “The largest mental health facility in New York City is Rikers Island.  A little over 2 million Americans are incarcerated, the majority being black and Hispanic men.  But many more flow in and out of jails each year.  Some are there for days, others for weeks to months.  When they come out, they may find that life is very different.  You may not have a job; you may not have an apartment.  Your social relationships may be up in the air.”

There is a huge problem with addiction to opiates which include not only illegal drugs like heroin but also prescription medications like Oxycodone and hydrocodone.  These addicts go to jail get off the drug for a few months when they go home they get back on it at a high rate and then they overdose.  That might explain the increased risk of drug related deaths in this study.  Overall, 1,149 of those people died after release; 219 were drug related deaths and 219 homicides.  There were 35 suicides among former inmates.

Rich said, “Ultimately, the best course will be to get more of those people into treatment, rather than a long stint in jail.  The answer is to figure out how we can stop incarcerating so many people.”

New York City drug rehabs could help people before they end up in a life of crime.

That would seem to be the answer.  Most of these inmates got into trouble because of their drug abuse.  The ultimate solution is to help people get off drugs and give education to all as to not do drugs in the first place.

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