Marshall County taking steps to help addicts in prison, state dollars put to use

NOW: Marshall County taking steps to help addicts in prison, state dollars put to use


Marshall County is making big changes in how it is dealing with the growing drug problem, with the help of grant money from the state.

On Sunday, ABC57 News first reported on a group of women in Plymouth who were on a mission. A sisterhood of former drug addicts who were banding together to help other struggling addicts, survive, despite the lack of resources in the area.

ABC57 learned that they weren't the only ones realizing that change in Marshall County was needed. 

"We've always had a drug problem in Marshall County, and we continue to," says Ward Byers, the Director of Operations at Marshall County Community Corrections.  

He, like so many others, are alarmed with the rapidly growing rates of heroin, meth, and opioid use. 

"In most cases, [offenders] go to the county jail. And then they're charged appropriately, and they either remain in the county jail or they're able to bail out," he explains. 

Byers says that's how it's been: they do drugs, they get caught, they go to jail, and then they get out.

About 80% of offenders in jail or prison, abuse drugs or alcohol. And 50% of inmates are clinically addicted. 

After they're released, approximately 95% of them return to their addiction. 

It's a cycle that Byers, and others, are determined to put an end to.  But there's a lack of resources.

"We do lack transitional homes, transitional housing, for individuals with substance abuse that are coming out of the county jail," Byers says. "We do have a lack of that."

There is no long term rehab facility in Marshall County. 

And only one places offers a short term detox. 

"There's definitely a shortage," says Lindie Leary, Director of the Bowen Center in Plymouth. "Sometimes people come in, even to go to these outlying counties, to find somebody who has beds open. That can be very difficult."

But a state grant program called Recovery Works, is starting to change that.

"The goal of Recovery Works is to provide treatment to for people coming out of jail and prison. Because studies have found that that helps them not re-offend, if they're getting treatment quicker," she adds.

The Bowen Center is pairing up with Community Corrections and the Marshall County Sheriff's Department to stop the cycle.

Assessments will be done while the inmates are still in jail or prison, and when they get out, the help is right there for them on day one.

"Getting treatment sooner, rather than later, not getting out, and then having to find the treatment themselves," Leary explains. "I think these are going to be key pieces in helping these guys and girls be successful.

Although the program is in it's planning stages, it's a start. 

But for those suffering from substance abuse who are not in the criminal justice system, things can be a little more difficult. 

Leary believes that access to recovery homes could make an impact on the drug problem.

"There definitely is a high demand for these inpatient, longer term facilities," she says.  "I think it would be great to have more recovery homes, transitional homes for them to heal together and to continue to move forward together and how to live in a world without drugs."

The hardest part for recovering addicts, is staying clean.

Byers agrees, and says that these recovery homes would greatly help recovering addicts.

"It's good to be able to have a place for them to go in that transition, instead of placing them back in the environment that might have placed them in the criminal justice system in the first place," he adds. 

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