Lawsuit challenges policy of denying inmates addiction meds

MIDDLETON, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man is challenging a county jail’s policy of denying inmates access to opioid addiction medication.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday asking a judge to require the Essex County House of Correction in Middleton to provide methadone to Geoffrey Pesce.

The 32-year-old Ipswich man faces jail for speeding and driving on a suspended license.

The ACLU argues that denying Pesce his doctor-prescribed methadone violates the Eighth Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The organization has filed similar lawsuits in Maine and Washington state.

The Essex County Sheriff’s Department said it’s reviewing the lawsuit and declined to comment.

Massachusetts lawmakers this year required six county jails to start offering opioid addiction medications by next September. Essex County wasn’t one of them.