Woman Sues DuPage Sheriff to Allow Methadone Medication in Jail

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A Chicago woman along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is preemptively suing DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick prior to serving a 30-day DUI sentence from a 2016 offense.

Jail Doesn’t Provide Medication

Christine Finnigan, 53, is a recovering opioid abuser who has been successful in treating addiction with methadone for over a year. The DuPage County jail does not provide that medication to inmates. Finnigan said a “cold turkey” withdrawal from methadone will be painful and could put her in danger of relapse upon release.

“I am horrified and afraid of going through detox while in jail,” said Finnigan in a post released by the ACLU. “I have gone through detox before without medication and know the pain and trauma. I nearly died. I just want to take the medication that has been prescribed for me.”

A DuPage Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune “people who come to the jail addicted to opioids are individually evaluated by our medical staff.” A course of treatment is then determined after the evaluation.

However the Daily Herald reports the ACLU said that won’t do because it can take as long as two weeks for the medical evaluation to be completed.

Violating ADA

The lawsuit states forcing Finnigan to go off her medication would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. They are now asking a federal judge to issue an emergency order requiring the sheriff’s office and other jail officials to ensure she has access to her medication before serving her time starting February 25.

A court hearing is scheduled for February 19.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.


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