Sheriff Outlines Strategy To Keep Ex-Inmates Off Opioids

Steve Miller
June 13, 2018 - 5:27 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Cook County is in a "crippling opioid crisis,” Sheriff Tom Dart says, and he has started a program to try to keep newly released inmates from overdosing.

When inmates have an opioid problem, they get treatment in jail. But then when they're freed, Dart said, the system sets them up to fail.

Newly released detainees are five times more likely to overdose within two weeks of leaving jail, Dart said Wednesday.

The sheriff's office made inmate Erica Cudia, 37, available to reporters.

She says she's overdosed after getting out of jail. Dart's plan for caseworkers to check in with some inmates after they're released is a good idea, Cudia said.

"But you can get all the help in the world. If the person's not ready, it' not going to do anything,” she said.

One in five jail inmates admits to opioid abuse, Dart said.