Sheriff: In-Jail Treatment Has 'Dramatically Reduced' Opioid Deaths Among Former Inmates

Sheriff: In-Jail Treatment Has ‘Dramatically Reduced’ Opioid Deaths Among Former Inmates

Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain says a counseling pod inside the Kane County Jail has “dramatically reduced” the number of inmates who die from opioid overdose after their release.

“Knowing that the opioid dependents who leave jail custody without treatment or support are 74 times more likely to overdose and die upon return to the community, correctional treatment is essential for bending the curve on deaths in the county,” Hain said in a Wednesday (March 17, 2021) news release.

To address the drug recidivism issue, the Sheriff’s Office created a “Recovery Pod” in March of 2019 that provides medically assisted treatment for the opioid dependent as well as group counseling for those in custody at Kane County Adult Corrections Center.

At the end of 2019 and 2020, the Sheriff’s Office analyzed the former inmates’ opioid-related death data provided by the Kane County Coroner’s Office.

According to Hain:

  • In 2017, 11 people left custody at the county jail and later overdosed and died.
  • In 2018, that number rose to 15.
  • In 2019, after the program was initiated, the number dropped to two.
  • In 2020, the number dropped to one.

“To summarize, that is an 89% decrease in overdose deaths of the formerly incarcerated in Kane,” Hain said.

The treatment in the jail is provided by Lighthouse Recovery of St Charles. Lighthouse also provides re-entry support and continued group counseling once jail residents are released from custody.

Lighthouse Clinical Director Nate Lanthrum said he is proud of the former inmates who have stayed with the program.

“The hard work and dedication of the men and women in this program has been incredible to witness — especially in light of the events of the last 12 months,” he said. “They show up, they support each other, they’ve made their environments safer, and they’ve truly tried to change their mindsets and their behaviors.

“And bottom line — as a result — they’re less likely to return to use when they get home.”

Hain said the program is funded by the inmate commissary proceeds, and no tax dollars are spent on the programming.

The Recovery Pod has served more than 300 jail residents to date, Hain said.

SOURCE: Kane County Sheriff’s Office news release

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