Camden County jail to expand addiction treatment program

Paul Kurtz
February 27, 2019 - 3:57 pm
Camden County jail warden Karen Taylor.

Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Camden County jail is expanding what appears to be a successful treatment program for inmates who enter the prison addicted to drugs or alcohol.

The jail is using a $200,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Corrections to offer inmates medication-assisted treatment during and after their incarceration.

Jail population manager Sharon Bean calls it a philosophical shift. 

"A shift from maintaining the status quo, relying primarily on a detox protocol for most, to helping prepare and motivate individuals for treatment. We do this by offering MAT with substance abuse counseling during one's period of incarceration."

Inmates are offered the MAT program as soon as they begin serving their sentences. But continuing it after their release is the key to preventing relapse.  

READ: Project HOPE in Camden receives $1.8M grant to help combat opioid epidemic 

Correctional officials say MAT has worked for nearly 50 former Camden County jail inmates so far, including 60-year-old Jose Laguer. 

"I got to get my shots on time every month. This will be my fifth shot in March. I go to Hispanic Family Center for groups and they keep me focused," Laguer said. 

In addition to the monthly injections, participants are offered support from community-based counseling groups.