Lawsuit: Leavenworth inmate could die without opioid addiction treatment

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas and Missouri affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union have sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons on behalf of an inmate they claim could die without a drug used to treat his opioid addiction.

A hearing is set for Wednesday in Kansas City, Kansas, on whether to order officials to continue the medication buprenorphine for Leaman Crews. The Bureau of Prisons policy denies non-pregnant inmates access to that medication as a treatment for opioid use disorder.

The ACLU contends in a filing Friday that withholding medication violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment as well as federal statutes.

Crews reported to the federal prison at Leavenworth Sept. 4 to begin a 36-month sentence. The ACLU says he became addicted to opioids after a car accident.