Kenton County To Treat Addicted Inmates With New Program

Kenton County Detention Center

(Covington)  - When dug addicted inmates leave the Kenton County Detention Center’s new treatment program its director hopes they’ll leave be one of three things within three months.

“One of the three E’s you can expect form our clients at least twelve weeks after release is they re employed, enlisted or furthering their education,”  Jason Merrick, Director of Addiction Services, said.

Kenton County’s facility will be the first in the country to offer intensive drug treatment to addicted inmates, with help from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. 

“We really think this is not only the right thing to do to reserve human life and increase quality of life but also for the taxpayers for the county and the commonwealth this is the fiscally responsible way for bringing resources for those who need them the most,” Merrick said.

Hazelden  and the jail are partnering Aetna Better Health of Kentucky for the START STRONG COR-12 Treatment and Reentry program.

It is a 12-step program that will respond to opioid addiction.

“Our three main focuses here are stabilization, prevention of diversion of the medication and then after care with job readiness and a very high employment rate,” Merrick said. 

Right now more than 100 inmates overcrowd the jail, with most of the population behind bars due to opiates.

“We hope to see up to 90 percent employment rate from clients who complete one or more of these tracks in our custody when they get out and into our aftercare program and then they’ll become productive members of society,” Merrick said.

The program is supposed to kick-off in September.

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