Jail drug treatment center offering inmates chance at recovery

A drug treatment program is up and running in the Bartholomew County Jail, providing treatment that would cost tens of thousands of dollars in the outside world.

Sheriff Matt Myers said that the program has officially launched this week. It provides qualifying inmates with treatment at no cost.

Theresa Patton, drug treatment coordinator for the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, said that the inmates, a literal captive audience, will be able to get treatment that few could afford outside of the walls of the jail. She talks about the cost just to get started in a treatment program on the outside.

Many insurance programs will only pay for two weeks of partial hospitalization, instead pushing patients to outpatient treatment. Further steps in the treatment process continue to add thousands of dollars to the cost, she said. For example, three hours of group therapy can cost $250 each session.

Insurance also is reluctant to pay for second rounds of treatment after a relapse, Patton said.

Medicaid can pay for the poorest addicts to get treatment, but it only pays about a 100th of the cost of a program, meaning many programs will not accept the assistance, she said.

For addicts young enough to still qualify for their patient’s insurance program, they can try to get treatment while still eligible for that coverage.

Patton said the jail treatment will be at least a 90-day-program, with individual counseling and group therapy for 10 hours a day. She said the program will eventually grow to include 24 men and 24 women at a time.

For many who have fallen into addiction, and gone through relapses, jail becomes their default detox center and a last chance at escaping from their drug abuse, Patton said.