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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Marion County Sheriff’s Office, along with other community resources leaders, just received enough funding to take part in a nationwide planning initiative to create better care for anyone entering jail while addicted to opioids.

Through this money, a group of five will travel to Washington D.C. twice from July 2019 through February 2020 for two two-day conferences. Marion County is one of 15 communities across the country taking part in the “Planning Initiative to Build Bridges Between Jail and Community-Based Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder.”

The attendees get the chance to talk with experts on administering medications to inmates, educating jail staffers, and creating treatment deadlines. Deputy Chief Tanesha Crear, Jail Division Commander, said planning for the future is critical to former inmates’ health.

“How to make sure that what we start in our facility is continued when these individuals are released back into the community, because a continuum of care is also very important,” Crear stressed.

Drug addiction plagues many inmates entering jails in this country. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance reports one in five inmates abuses opioids.

“It’s enough people that it has grabbed our attention to say something needs to be done,” Crear said.

Currently, the jail offers programs to inmates such as Narcotics Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous and Addictions Education.

“We don’t want to continue to see the same individuals come back here with the same challenges and the same struggles as previous custody stays,” Crear said. “If there is something we can do while they’re here to assist with that holistic treatment upon these doors, we are very committed to doing so.”

The Behavioral Management Unit, along with the medical staff, oversees the detoxing unit to ensure people safely withdrawal. Plus, they partner with community resources and a local hospital for out-patient treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Heroin Anonymous meetings and transitional house after release.