Drugs in Prison

by Naswan Miller

Online exclusive for Prison Health News

I write this out of desperation and grief for the sanity, safety, and rehabilitation for myself and fellow prisoners over the unchecked drug epidemic at Dillwyn Correctional Center in Dillwyn, Virginia. For the past few years, since my arrival, I have witnessed prisoners fall out unconscious, display violent behavior toward prisoners and staff, and walk around in a zombie-like state from drug impairments. The drugs currently coming into the facility that I’ve witnessed are cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, spice, suboxone strips, marijuana, and tobacco. Continue reading “Drugs in Prison”

How to Quit Smoking and How to Not Start Again

By Arielle Horowitz

From PHN Issue 38, Fall 2018

Most smokers know that smoking is bad for their health, but they also know that quitting smoking is not easy. According to the American Lung Association, quitting smoking can be easier if you know your reasons for quitting, talk to a doctor, understand what to expect, and get help. Federal prisons and almost half of state prison systems prohibit smoking cigarettes indoors and outdoors, but more than half of states still allow smoking in prison yards. For those who quit smoking while in prison and are soon to be released, it is important to think about how to not start smoking again outside prison. Continue reading “How to Quit Smoking and How to Not Start Again”

Preventing Opioid Overdose after Release from Prison

By Kathryn Hawrot

From PHN Issue 36, Spring 2018

What are opioids?

Opioids are drugs used to control moderate-to-severe pain, obtained through a prescription or illegally. They include oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Roxicodone), oxymorphone (Opana), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco), morphine, codeine, heroin, fentanyl, buprenorphine, and methadone. Some street names for opiates are Captain Cody, kickers, juice, footballs, Apache, TNT, smack, dope, China white, pink, Miss Emma, and M. Continue reading “Preventing Opioid Overdose after Release from Prison”

Truly Understanding the Connection between HIV and Incarceration

By Laura McTighe

From PHN Issue 24, Spring 2015

   We know that HIV and incarceration overlap. One in seven people with HIV will pass through our prisons and jails this year. But knowing that HIV and incarceration overlap doesn’t tell us why. Understanding why is critical if we are to end AIDS. Continue reading “Truly Understanding the Connection between HIV and Incarceration”

Long-term Pain and Medical Neglect

by Chasity Williams

Edited by Warren Lane

From PHN Issue 21, Summer 2014

   I am writing to you because your newsletter has inspired me, and I’m hoping that you might submit my story. I’m currently at SCI Muncy in Pennsylvania and have been for two years for violating pre-release by leaving a DOC (Department of Corrections) halfway house (due to being sexually harassed by a staff member). Since I’ve been back at SCI Muncy, I’ve been fighting the medical department for proper treatment for chronic pain. I suffer from degenerative disc disease and severe sciatica from a work injury. I’ve been disabled since May of 2005, receiving benefits for my child and myself through the federal government. My main issue is pain relief and pain management, and I’ve been denied that here. I do want everyone to know that I became addicted to the drug called Oxycodone. However, that was ten years ago and I am no longer that person. Continue reading “Long-term Pain and Medical Neglect”

Rising Above HIV Discrimination

By Joel Laux, M.C.C.F. Montgomery County, PA

From PHN Issue 16, Spring 2013

I am HIV Positive, and have been so for about eleven years now. I also am an IV Drug user. I have had personal experiences involving discriminatory practices in the law or its application. Although I have not been actually prosecuted in a court of law for an HIV specific criminal statute, I have been threatened with it. Continue reading “Rising Above HIV Discrimination”

Recovery from Injustice: An Interview with Ronnie Stephens

by Suzy Subways

From PHN Issue 10, Spring 2011

Ronnie Stephens is an HIV outreach advocate and consultant in Austin, Texas. He has been HIV positive for 10 years and a worker in AIDS services for 14 years. His life’s work is with people who are at risk for HIV because of homophobia, racism, and imprisonment. “I try to target the population that I was locked up with,” he explains. Stephens has been in drug recovery for ten years and gives it much of the credit for his survival. But to him, recovery from drugs is only part of the picture. Like preventing HIV and staying out of jail, it goes beyond the individual. Communities have to do this work together.

Q: What do you mean by “recovery from injustice”?

A: A lot of people who do AIDS strategy don’t really get the idea of social injustice. When they talk about substance abuse and prison, I say, well, half of these kids got beat up down there. They beat you up, and [the prison guards] say, “Well that’s because of what you are.” So what do you have to offer our clients coming out? These kids have been abused. Some of them have been raped, some of them have no family to go to. What do you do for those individuals who are coming back into society and don’t have any family to turn to? That’s kind of traumatizing. That hurts. Continue reading “Recovery from Injustice: An Interview with Ronnie Stephens”