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Federal Lawsuit Blames Manchester Jail For Man's Death From Opiate Withdrawal

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NHPR
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The family of a man who died last year at a Manchester jail is suing the facility and its medical contractor, alleging substandard care.

The wrongful death and civil rights suit was filed Friday in federal court against the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections, among others.

The suit comes from the mother of Nicholas Sacco, who died at age 24 last May. He had been detained at the Valley Street jail after violating probation with a shoplifting arrest.

The lawsuit says Sacco suffered from opioid addiction, and was going through withdrawal and exhibiting serious medical problems at the jail.

Sacco's family claims that correctional staff and nurses ignored this and didn’t follow their own policies to help Sacco detox safely, “because he was stereotyped … as another opiate junkie,” the suit states.

Sacco died from complications due to opiate withdrawal shortly before he was due to be released, according to the lawsuit.

“The defendants’ actions were discriminatory on their face because they were based on stereotypes of disabled men with opioid use disorder,” the suit states, “rather than an individualized inquiry into the plaintiff’s genuine medical needs.”

The suit also cites an alleged pattern of inadequate medical care at the Valley Street Jail. The facility has faced multiple complaints over its medical treatment in recent years.

The family seeks damages and a jury trial for Sacco’s death.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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