Feb. 1, 2024 – Pennsylvania’s court system will pay a total of $100,000 to six people who were prevented from taking medication prescribed to treat opioid addiction while under court supervision as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The settlement resolves a 2022 lawsuit by the Justice Department alleging that the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System (UJS), which includes county courts, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

The suit claimed county courts ordered the six victims in the lawsuit and others to stop taking medication prescribed for opiate use disorder while on probation or parole or as a condition of their participation in a drug court program.

“Those affected by the UJS court policies were put to an agonizing choice: take their medication and face incarceration or termination from their treatment court program or forgo their medication and suffer painful withdrawal symptoms while risking relapse, overdose and death,” the U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia said in a statement announcing the settlement.