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Albany County jail to expand its opioid treatment program

Jan 18, 2019 1:00 pm
Bethany Bump is reporting for the Times Union those incarcerated at Albany County Jail who suffer from opioid addiction will now be provided access to medication-assisted treatments. The decision makes Albany County the first jail facility statewide, outside of New York City, to provide access to buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone that in combination, ease the physical symptoms of withdrawal and reduce the chance of overdose. Officials hope it will guide more people toward long-term recovery, and reduce their chances of returning to jail for crimes such as possession or theft. "Some people just can't detox on their own," said Sheriff Craig Apple Sr. "Some people need medication to help. And I was fearful of it. I always have been, because I've seen this stuff smuggled into jail and I'm petrified of contraband. But the humanity side of it won me over." Apple was helped along in his position by Keith Brown, a local harm reduction leader who works for the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice. Brown said he is not sure that many other sheriffs would have been willing to take this step and credited Apple for siding with evidence over the stigma. Just six of the state's 54 correctional facilities offer some form of medication treatment, and Rikers Island is the only facility to offer all three. Read the full story in the Times Union.