Court To Rule On Whether Relapse By An Addicted Opioid User Should Be A Crime

Source: NPR

Julie Eldred is back at home in Massachusetts now. But she was sentenced to a treatment program for opioid addiction as part of a probation agreement, then sent to jail when she relapsed. Some addiction specialists say that’s unjust. Jesse Costa/WBUR

Julie Eldred has been struggling with addiction to opioids for more than a decade and she says the criminal justice system punishes her for it.

Eldred, a part-time pet caretaker in Acton, Mass., was put on probation last year for theft. She knew staying drug-free would be tough — especially at first, when she was going through opioid withdrawal. But, she says, she didn’t have much of a choice.

“I was in the midst of active addiction, so I was actively using. But you’re forced to go into

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