EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – A new partnership between the Evansville Recovery Alliance and the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office looks to help inmates as they reintegrate into society. This will put potentially life-saving medication in the hands of inmates that are being released. It is a partnership that Vanderburgh County Sheriff Noah Robinson calls a “natural fit”.
“It was a pretty easy decision when I approached the Evansville Recovery Alliance,” says Sheriff Robinson. “They were very gracious and more than eager to partner with us.”
The Reducing Overdose After Release program, or “ROAR”, is funded by grants from the Indiana Health Department. Each kit consists of two doses of Narcan and instructions on how to use the product. Lavender Timmons with the Evansville Recovery Alliance says Narcan is a life saver and not a drug use enabler.
“It is intended to save lives, it is not intended to extend substance use, or doesn’t encourage substance use, there’s no narcotic effect,” explains Timmons.
Sheriff Robinson says the ultimate goal is to make sure those who leave the Vanderburgh County jail do not return. He believes this partnership is a step in that direction.
“If them obtaining a dose of Narcan that can sustain their life and let them live another day and have another chance at recovery, have a chance to make something of themselves, then we’re going to provide that,” says Robinson.
Timmons adds, “We are going to develop a re-entry team that’s going to be prepared to offer housing, food, resources, community service opportunities.”
Sheriff Robinson says inmates with substance use disorders are up to 10 times more likely to overdose after being released. He says the Narcan distribution is a no-brainer.
“I view Narcan very similarly to how we use AED’s,” says Robinson. “We don’t judge someone based on their life choices that resulted in them having a cardiac event. We just try to save their life. So the mission of law enforcement is to preserve life, it’s not a mission of law enforcement to judge someone or question their life choices.”