Prisoners Suffer Without Methadone Programs

By Seth Ferranti 02/07/13

More inmates than ever are now forced to withdraw cold turkey, a prisoner tells The Fix.

Many recovering addicts must sweat it
out behind bars.
Photo via

In recent years almost every methadone program in prison or jail has been terminated. "When I came to prison I was cool the first day," one heroin/methadone addict and current prisoner tells The Fix. "But then I had seizures and convulsions and they didn't do shit for me, just told me it was part of the detox. They left me in population. I was shitting my pants, had the shakes and was deathly ill and they didn't do anything for me or even give me a change of clothes," he continues. "But that's nothing new. I have seen dudes have epileptic seizures—your heart can stop. Dudes get taken out to the hospital, they have chest pains, get pale and sick. They should implement something in prison to help addicts detox instead of locking them in and letting them sweat it out. In county where I was at they don't give you nothing, only Ibuprofen, thats it, period. I didn't take that shit."

Recovery advocates have argued that cutting addicts off from methadone is akin to taking insulin from a diabetic. But most prisons still don't cater to prisoners who are already on methadone. "It's one of the gnarliest drugs ever," the prisoner says of methadone. "On the street they have detox places where you can go and pay like $30 a week, but in prison there's nothing. I've seen dudes go cold turkey in here and they have heart attacks. But the prison doesn't care. When you quit it you are supposed to gradually wean yourself down. Unless you want to have seizures and convulsions, you have to wean yourself down. But in here they let inmates sweat it out and get the shakes or whatever. No treatment. It's inhumane." 

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.