In Stockton, California a meth-addled tuberculosis patient has been tossed in lockup after refusing to take the medications that would keep his active pulmonary TB from becoming contagious. 34-year-old Armando Rodriguez apparently missed one of his self-administered treatments because he went on a meth-fueled alcohol binge and, as he told a nurse, he didn't want to hurt his liver.
Rodriguez's worry for his liver didn't concern the health officials in San Joaquin County tasked with preventing a widespread TB outbreak, however. He was diagnosed with the disease and ordered to take the medication back in March, but after he missed or refused treatment on five other occasions, the county hit him with two counts refusing to comply with the doctor's orders. Each count carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and Rodriguez will need at least another nine months of treatment according to a public health official.
San Joaquin County's current TB problem goes hand-in-hand with their meth problem, apparently. The county has prosecuted over 30 tuberculosis patients since 1984. The criminal charges are a necessary measure for patients whose street drug use interferes with the medication, making them unfit for outpatient treatment.