Germany violated the rights of a heroin user by denying him access to his drug substitution treatment while in prison, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled. The inmate has struggled with dependence for decades.
The Strasbourg judges ruled in favor of the 61-year-old former inmate on Thursday, three years after the German constitutional court threw out his complaint.
The man was arrested for drug trafficking in 2008 and taken to a prison in the Bavarian town of Kaisheim. For years before his arrest, the man had been taking methadone to curb his own addiction to heroin.
However, the state officials had refused to provide him with the substitute drug during his six-year sentence. After complaining of chronic pain, the prison managers had consulted a doctor who recommended that methadone might help the inmate, advice which was ultimately disregarded, according to the Strasbourg court. The inmate received painkillers instead.
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Thumbnail: Flickr CC Josh Estey