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Kenton County Jail Launches Opioid Treatment And Re-Entry Program

Courtesy Kenton County Detention Center
The Kenton County Detention Center says it's the first jail in the country to implement the COR-12 program for dealing with opioid addiction.

Kenton County is launching a 12-step re-entry program for inmates dealing with opioid addictions.

It's a partnership with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, which created the COR-12 treatment plan, and includes a 90-day residential treatment followed by six months of aftercare with job training and other services.

"We're embracing it and implementing it in a correctional setting for the first time in the U.S.," says Director of Addiction Services Jason Merrick with the Kenton County Detention Center.

He calls it a "fiscally responsible" response to the opioid crisis.

"We're creating safer communities," he says. "We're decreasing the amount of crime that will be committed in the communities; the amount of overdoses we see will decrease; the amount of drugs that are being brought into the community...

"We'll be increasing the workforce. These men and women that come out of our facility and have gone through this program and this aftercare program will be employed and contributing to the economy."

Merrick says the county is seeking grants to fund the $2 million program set to begin in September. He expects to reach 300 people over three years.

The program does utilize medications to help participants with withdrawal. They also receive mental health services, help with housing and other re-entry related assistance.

The program is voluntary but is done in conjunction with the court system. Merrick says they want participants who are invested in their treatment.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.