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County jail will step up services for drug-addicted inmates

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 February 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Scott Wilson, superintendent of the Orleans County Jail, said the county is working on initiatives for inmates struggling with drug addictions and also mental health issues. He addressed the Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition this morning.

ALBION – The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office is teaming with other agencies in the county to soon start several initiatives for inmates wrestling with drug addictions and mental health issues.

When inmates are released from the jail, they will be injected with a shot of Vivitrol, which helps fight opiate addictions. The Sheriff’s Office secured free shots from a manufacturer. The shot lasts for about 14 days.

The Sheriff’s Office also has been helping inmates secure health insurance coverage. Scott Wilson, the jail superintendent, said many inmates do not have health insurance. After a recent push, he said about 98 percent are now on Medicaid.

That program will start covering Vivitrol in July, which should ensure people who leave the jail can receive continued shots of Vivitrol to help fight their opiate addictions, and reduce the rates of committing new crimes, Wilson told the Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition this morning.

He shared other initiatives at the jail and community. Wilson is part of a team from the county going to Albany next week for crisis intervention training with mental health. The training will give guidance for law enforcement, mental health staff, probation and other agencies who work with people having mental health issues.

Roland Nenni, the police chief in Albion and Holley, is helping to organize the National Night Out on Aug. 2 at Bullard Park.

Police officers will be trained in using discretion in making an arrest and using force with someone having a mental health crisis, Wilson said.

The team from Orleans will work with other professionals next week in Albany to map out how services can best be provided in Orleans County, said Mark O’Brien, director of the Orleans County Mental Health Department.

Wilson said a re-entry coordinator will be added at the jail from an existing staff member. Wilson said addressing the addiction and mental health issues should reduce the inmate population, saving taxpayers and helping more people to be productive citizens.

The Drug Free Communities Coalition shared other efforts today, including a Narcan training program on March 10 at Hoag Library in Albion. Agency leaders and community members at 3 p.m. can learn how to administer Narcan to someone having a heroin overdose.

The Drug Free Communities Coalition is offering the Narcan training in response to opioid epidemic. For more information contact Sarah May at smay@gcasa.org.

The second annual National Night Out will be at Bullard Park on Aug. 2 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will include demonstrations from K9 teams and law enforcement professionals, as well as games and activities for children.

Roland Nenni, the police chief in Albion and Holley, urged agency leaders to come to the three-hour event and offer games and prizes to make it more fun for families.