Inmates Receive Mobile Methadone as Part of Pilot Program

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MAYS LANDING, N.J. -

Officials from the Atlantic County Justice Facility have partnered with representatives from the John Brooks Recovery Center to provide inmates with a new outpatient mobile treatment service.

“Probably between 85 to 90-percent of the people that are committed to the facility are here for a directly related drug offense," said Geraldine Cohen, warden at the Justice Facility, "or indirectly, like shoplifting and burglary." 

Now, thanks to a partnership with the recovery center, the staff at Atlantic County Justice Facility are hoping to help those inmates with a van that serves as a fully equipped mobile outpatient treatment center, which will bring help directly to the addicts who need it. 

“With the pilot program we have right now, we’re permitted to dose up to 50 inmates," [with methadone] said Cohen. "What we’re doing is targeting pregnant women and anybody who’s been here three times in a year.” 

Five days a week the team aboard the van comes to the facility to give out the doses of methadone.

I thought methadone would be the worst thing in the world for him. But we tried everything else and then we tried methadone [and it worked]. 

“We’re very excited that we’re going to see a lot of improvement," said Cohen. "That’s part of the main goal here, to help people learn how to get back on their feet.” 

Watch: Road to Recovery (VIDEO)

For the warden, this cause was something that hit close to home. 

“I tell everybody that I have a son who has a heroin addiction," said Cohen. "And, like everyone else, I thought methadone would be the worst thing in the world for him. But we tried everything else and then we tried methadone [and it worked].” 

Cohen said her son has since been in recovery for 13 years. 

“What’s great for me is to see now that maybe I can help somebody else get there,” said Cohen. 

In just its third week, the warden has already seen the program make a huge difference in the inmates involved.

According to Cohen, before the program was initiated, the inmates had problems such as withdrawal and mental-health issues, which she said is not uncommon for people who are addicted to drugs. But after the second day of receiving the methadone treatments they seemed to get better.

Cohen is hoping the program can continue following the six-month pilot period to help inmates create a better future both in and out of the facility. 


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