Metro Corrections director says opioid crisis is 'crushing' the jail
Mark Bolton says jail is treating up to 120 inmates every day for addiction
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It is "crushing us." That's what the Director of Metro Corrections says about the opioid problem inside the jail.
Mark Bolton told state lawmakers he needs their help to solve the crisis.
Bolton told members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee, Friday, that between 40 and 120 inmates are going through drug detox at Metro Corrections every single day.
A vast majority of them are hooked on heroin.
"So, were are running the largest detox program in the region. There's no program in Louisville that is detoxing people more than we are at the jail," said Bolton.
Bolton says it costs three times more to house and treat opioid addicts than regular inmates.
Sending them for treatment outside the jail is often not an option because there are not enough beds in Louisville.
"Twenty-four male beds, Twenty-four female beds, that's it in terms of open-entry, immediately available, community detox beds. They're always full," said Bolton.
Bolton says addicts are often released from jail before detox is complete.
"You can't keep a person in jail for 10 days on a traffic warrant or for not showing up in court on a traffic ticket. So, on any given day, we're putting 10, 15, 20 people back on the street when we haven't even completed the detox on them," he said.
Lawmakers say they've already increased funding for treatment.
"And the fact that you still need more is certainly proof of how far have to go," said Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R-Hopkinsville.)
Further than lawmakers may have realized.
"I think we're going to have to make more treatment facilities available. We're going to have to have more counseling. The problem is massive," said Rep. Darryl Owens (D-Louisville.)
More state funding could be hard to come by. Some rural lawmakers say the problem is even worse in their county jails that have far fewer resources than Metro Corrections.
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