Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

NY lawmakers budgeting money for prison medication-assisted addiction treatment

File Photo

New York State is considering providing medication-assisted treatment to all prison and jail inmates struggling with opioid addiction.

Experts say drugs such as methadone and suboxone can greatly improve inmates' chances of recovery and reduce the risk that they will commit other crimes.

But the drugs are expensive and advocates say it could take $7 million a year to make it available in every state and local lockup. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature are currently debating how much money to budget for the medication.

Federal statistics suggest more than half of all inmates in state prisons nationwide have a substance-abuse problem. New York officials put the number as high as 80 percent in state and local lockups, which have about 77,000 inmates.