LMDC updates harm reduction program, increases access to Narcan for inmates
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Louisville Metro Department of Corrections modified its harm reduction program by increasing resources for inmates in custody and when they leave.
Statistics show inmates are more likely to overdose outside of jail. In partnership with the University of Kentucky’s HEALing (Helping End Addiction Long Term) Communities Study, LMDC added Narcan vending machines for inmates to use before they leave.
Officials said in the first two weeks that inmates are released, they are 40 times more likely to overdose. LMDC said they believe they cannot arrest their way out of this drug issue. Instead, they can add resources, like Narcan, to reduce overdoses and save lives.
“The people who are the most stigmatized, marginalized and criminalized actually have many of the solutions to the problems they are facing when given the resources they need,” community health administrator of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness Ben Goldman said.
The harm reduction program is an evidence-based practice that acknowledges people’s behaviors and risks to make better choices for healthier outcomes. Narcan is already available in the housing units, and officers carry it.
With the harm reduction program and access to Narcan so far, officials said 24 lives have been saved.
“We do not see an increase in substance use associated with Narcan distribution,” Goldman said. “What we do see is a decrease in fatal overdoses. The numbers are really clear. This is something that reduces deaths in the community.”
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