Advocates Fear Increase of Heroin Withdrawal Jail Deaths

Heroin withdrawal is rarely fatal, but more than a half-dozen people have died behind bars in the U.S. during the last two years after suffering severe symptoms their families say went untreated.

Generation Addicted: NBC10’s Digital Team spent five months investigating the issue of opioid addiction in the Philadelphia region and beyond. They discovered a generation of addicted people and a public health and law enforcement system ill-equipped to save them.

Civil rights lawyers say they fear the number could grow, given the nation's heroin epidemic.

In Pennsylvania, the mother of an 18-year-old woman who collapsed and later died after days of severe vomiting sued Lebanon County officials Monday. Stephanie Moyer's lawsuit accuses them of ignoring her need for medical care.

Prison officials in larger cities, including Philadelphia, say they assess addicts upon intake and provide intravenous fluids and other medications if needed.

News accounts and court files detail other apparent withdrawal deaths in jails in Oregon, Michigan, Colorado and elsewhere.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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