The state is giving more than $3 million to jails across Kentucky for their drug treatment programs.
Louisville Metro Corrections is one of 10 jails that will be getting some of that money.
He’s now planning on using state money to expand the jail’s detox and treatment programs.
“Due to struggling with addiction in my life, I have probably been incarcerated for at least 10 years of my life. I have been away from my children most of that time, in and out, in and out,” said inmate Cynthia Weddell, who is in the drug addiction treatment program at Metro Corrections.
She remembers what it was like to detox.
“It was absolutely horrible. Being sick all over myself. And just physically couldn’t move, it was horrible,” Weddell said.
Now she is going through the jail’s drug addiction treatment program.
“We are the epicenter of the opiate problem, right here at Metro Corrections,” said Director Mark Bolton.
Bolton knows how bad the addiction problem is and he knows how important treatment programs are.
“On any given day, we are actively detoxing 40, 50, 60. It’s been as high as 100-plus individuals at any given time and most of those detoxes are opiate-related, or more specifically, heroin,” Bolton said.
Of the $3 million in state grant money, $1.5 million will be split between 10 county jails, including Metro Corrections. The rest will go to state prisons.
“Our plan is to double down on the number of treatment beds,” Bolton said.
That will allow the jail to help more inmates fighting addiction.
Bolton also wants to start a program to connect inmates who are battling addiction and are getting out of jail with programs in the community.
“People do not say, ‘Gee I think I’ll wake up on a Tuesday and start ruining my life,’ it doesn’t happen that way,” said Karyn Hascal, president of The Healing Place.
Hascal runs one of the addiction treatment programs jail officials hope to work with.
“To be able to have the opportunity to go from detoxing in jail to detoxing in a program, they’re grateful,” she said.
Bolton said he doesn’t know how much of that $1.5 million his jail will get.
But, he said, he hopes to get those programs up and running by the beginning of next year.
Bolton said he also wants to use the state money to start a medication-assisted treatment program.
He said inmates would have the option to decide whether or not they want to participate in the program, which entails taking medication to help treat their addiction.