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Addiction help for inmates met with skepticism

August 2, 2018

Word that a new addiction recovery pilot program is coming to the Western Regional Jail brought reaction from some readers, most of it skeptical about how it would work out.

The program, announced last week as Gov. Jim Justice and other officials gathered to provide updates on the opioid epidemic and crime, will serve 32 male and 32 female inmates in Cabell, Wayne and Putnam counties. Western Regional Jail also serves Lincoln and Mason counties.

To be eligible, inmates must be nonviolent offenders and be willing to participate. Judges may also sentence inmates to the program, and to reward successful completion of the program with sentence reduction.

The regional jail system currently has no addiction treatment. Here are some readers’ comments:

Terriell Richard Sperry: “Wait, wait, wait, so the free needles didn’t combat this issue?”

Scott Riggs: “The needle exchange isn’t designed to treat addiction. They get information regarding addiction and releases to seek help.”

Pamela Ross Arnold: “Enable, enable, enable ... jail, then treatment.”

Allison Scites: “How is having a treatment program in jail enabling?”

Pamela Ross Arnold: “It was enabling before with providing free needles, ‘safe’ place to shoot up and Narcan available when needed. Not treatment.”

Jeffrey A. Ward: ”$440,000 to treat 32 male inmates and 32 female inmates. ... Lots and lots of money in this new industry of drug addiction.”

Erica Atkins: “Better late than never, I guess.”

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