Drug addicts have a much higher chance of going to jail than most people. High-risk behavior comes with the lifestyle. I was arrested for possession of drugs and resale. Unfortunately, I was physically dependent on various narcotics when I was placed into custody. It is very important to be honest with the authorities concerning any chemical dependencies because the jail staff should monitor withdrawal. Jail is not rehab. They let me know fairly quickly that they were not concerned about my comfort, but they did give me just enough medical care to stop an emergency medical issue caused by detoxing.
After being booked, I went to Jail Intake
. I was asked a series of questions about my medical history, criminal history, names, addresses, etc. At this point I was also asked what drugs I was on and if I was going to withdraw. After intake, I saw the nurse. These nurses are used to people being on drugs or alcohol. I was completely honest about my drug use. They were not there to judge me at that point. They took my vitals and started me on medication. Don't expect to get any narcotics to aid with withdrawal symptoms, but the jail will provide life sustaining medications. In my case, it was blood pressure medication, because my blood pressure went through the roof as I began to withdraw. I also received an anti-seizure pill, due to my history of seizures during withdrawal.
Once I was given my medication, I was placed in the medical unit. This is a cellblock that has a 24- hour nurse for constant observation. This particular jail keeps an inmate in the medical unit until they determine it is safe to be placed in with the general population. Within a few days, a doctor does a more thorough check. The doctor went over my charts and vitals and determined that I was safe to leave medical for general population. This is where I was tapered off of my medication.
Jail is not a comfortable place to stay; it isn't meant to be. However, it is the responsibility of any jail or prison to keep inmates safe and healthy. This includes help with the withdrawal symptoms of certain substances. They can only do this if you are honest with them. In my case, I could have had a seizure or even died detoxing on my own. With the help of the jail staff, I got through it. I was then able to pursue rehab after release. It is never ideal to be in jail. Withdrawing in jail can make it much more complicated, but it can be done safely. It just takes honesty and cooperation. Withdrawing in Jail Video The Case for Treating Drug Addicts in Prison