The announcement of the quest for fresh funding for a drug treatment program for Indiana inmates is welcome in a state ravaged by the opioid epidemic.
The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department is requesting additional funding to expand and enhance the drug addiction program recently launched in the county.
A similar program in Indiana’s Morgan County offers up to 100 inmates each year to attend the Morgan County RSAP (residential substance abuse program) has seen a success rate of 72%. This has led to over 70 inmates each year kickstarting meaningful recovery through 90 days of intensive counseling and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).
Why is it necessary to divert even more funding into combating substance abuse disorder among Indiana inmates, though?
Why Help Is Required To Fight Drug Overdose Deaths In Indiana
As the effects of the opioid epidemic continue to hammer states like Indiana, this shift from a punitive approach to drug addiction to a more rehabilitative one is overdue and encouraging.
In 2018, there were 1629 deaths from drug overdoses in Indiana. Of these overdoses, 370 involved prescription opioids (down from 425 deaths in 2017) while 713 deaths involved synthetic opioids or heroin. This latter figure has remained stable.
More recent statistics are less favorable, though. 2019 started strongly with just 9 overdose deaths in the first half of the year. Fast forward to 2020, and the first six months saw 20 overdose deaths recorded by the Bartholomew County Coroner.
This same trend is also occurring across other counties. Marion County saw a sharp increase in deaths by drug overdose in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The same is unfolding in Johnson County. In all cases, fentanyl is implicated in this increase in deaths by overdose. In some cases, victims have been discovered with pure fentanyl in their bloodstream.
So, while progress is being made, there’s a rallying cry in Indiana for even more help. This help is most acutely needed to help our most vulnerable citizens, those incarcerated in Indianapolis jails.
Jail Seeks Further Funding For Drug Treatment Program For Indiana Inmates
Theresa Patton, the drug treatment coordinator at Bartholomew County Jail, requested additional funding in the 2021 annual budget to enhance and expand the drug addiction treatment program already in place.
Patton is calling for 50% more female participation in her treatment program next year. This would see 21 female inmates enrolled in the program rather than the 18 at present.
A similar increase of 50-100% this year would see 30 male inmates go through the program next year if the proposal is accepted.
The cost of these proposed increases demands the existing budget be more than doubled, largely to recruit the required personnel. The extra $144,915 requested would cover the cost of hiring a permanent addiction recovery counselor along with two part-time recovery specialists.
This demand was welcomed and met no overt resistance.
Encouraging Reaction At County Budget Hearings
No council members questioned the underlying need to get more inmates into drug treatment programs. Patton made her timely request for funding in the same month that a record number of investigations linked to drugs occurred in the first half of 2020 according to the Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office. The coroner had also reported fatal drug overdoses more than doubling against the same period last year.
Patton outlined the annual cost of drug treatment for inmates as just $3000 to $5000. When compared to the $18,000 to $25,000 required to keep someone incarcerated for a year, this appears a sound and reasonable investment.
If these drug treatment programs are combined with meaningful support services once the inmate is released, they have been proven an effective method of keeping many grateful ex-offenders sober and out of jail according to Patton.
Why Are There More Drug Overdose Deaths In Bartholomew County This Year?
Patton believes that coronavirus has at least some part to play in the increase in drug activity during the first half of this 2020.
She suggested that the anxiety, stress, and depression many have experienced during the global pandemic has made the quick fixes of drink or drug seem especially attractive to some. From addicts relapsing to those abusing drugs or alcohol for the first time, the knock-on effects are damaging to society in general.
Patton also added out that many facilities designed to provide temporary shelter for anyone waiting for placement in sober housing shut their doors during the early part of the pandemic.
All that remains to be seen is whether this commendable desire to help more inmates get back on the straight and narrow will be approved.
What To Do Next
If you’re having any problems at all with drink or drugs, here at Landmark Recovery of Indianapolis, we genuinely care and we’ll help you kickstart your road to recovery any time you’re ready.
Call today at 317-449-8029.
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