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Clark County Coroner Tells Inmates on Heroin To Use Smaller Dose
CLARK COUNTY -- David Garrett has for several years ministered to inmates struggling with heroin addiction and he knows sometimes things don't change when inmates are released from jail.
"They were supposed to report to treatment and probation and that never happened they just went back out and started using instantaneously," said David Garrett of Hearts on the Outside Ministries.
Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly is predicting a record number of drug arrests in 2014 and is now fighting back against the heroin problem on their streets. Clark County saw 17 deaths in both 2012 and 2013 from heroin overdoses and in 2014.
"Already this year we've had three people die within hours of leaving the county jail," Kelly said.
A heroin addict obviously can't use drugs while in jail and when they are released they think they can use the same amount as they were using before they were locked up.
"When you're in jail you detox," said Kelly. "The average stay in the Clark County jail is 40 days. "If they return to the streets and attempt to use the same amount of heroin as they did when they came into jail they are going to overdose and in many cases they are going to die."
So now Sheriff Kelly is giving a letter written from the coroner to every one released from jail.
"This is our attempt," he said. "We are going to put this letter in every hand. We are going to put signs around the jail. We are going to put the signs up around the community."
In the letter the Clark County Coroner urged inmates not to do drugs and even listed several adult treatment services, however he knows there will be several people who choose not to listen. That's why the letter goes as far as saying ways to lower your risk including: "Using a smaller dose of heroin than you did before going to jail."
"We as a community cannot sit back and do nothing and I believe as the sheriff I am charged with doing everything possible from the DARE program in schools to enforcement on the streets to getting people the information they need to hopefully save their life when they get out of jail and return to the community," Kelly said.
"I think starting with a strong support system when you are released out of jail is number one," said Garrett. "If you don't have people in your life we're going to help you; there's a problem with that right off the bat."
Sheriff Kelly says they also use the counselors in the jail and are starting a mentoring program so there are people waiting on the inmates when they are released.
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