Fighting Back: Hope fighting opioid addiction beginning in jail
Opioid overdoses killed more than 4,000 people last year in Ohio, making it an epidemic. So what are the solutions?
In Pickaway County, one solution is the Angel Program and it begins in jail.
"I stole from my families, I stole from stores. I've done a lot of things I'm not proud of, " said inmate Travis Orin.
Orin says he turned himself into the Pickaway County jail after failing to pay child support.
"I was using and that's the only thing that mattered. It's a sad situation," he said.
Orin was addicted to heroin, but since his incarceration, he's been clean and sober. He says he's ready to turn his life around and jail administrators are willing to help.
"We kinda came up with the Angel Program, " said Lieutenant Gabe Carpenter. " The program attacks every gap that we know in the system or tries to at least. "
One of the biggest gaps it fulfills, giving the addict help before leaving jail. The program sets them up with counselors, helps them with their benefits and once released the program will transport the inmate to get their vivitrol shots.
"Otherwise, if we don't help them every step they tend to go back to their old habits, " said Lt. Carpenter.
The vivitrol shots are one of the key components to the program's success. Vivitrol helps eliminate the effects of opioids. Carpenter says the program works.
"I was at the gas station the other day, I had a girl come up and say "Hi, I want to thank you for what you guys did for me." She's been clean for almost a year." said Carpenter.
Orin will get his first shot once he's released. And says this could be his last chance at overcoming his addiction.
"I need to stop being selfish now and start thinking of my son and family, " said Orin.
"I'm scared to death everyday because anything can happen out there. It's scary because I know if I use one time, it's over. The next place I'll be is in the institution or death."