Detox treatment common for Westmoreland County inmates
Nearly half of the inmates who enter Westmoreland County Prison have a drug or alcohol problem, Warden John Walton said on Monday.
In March, 124 incoming inmates — 42 percent — required detoxification treatment.
“This is a big issue for us,” Walton said.
The number of addicted inmates has risen steadily since January, when 29 percent of new inmates needed detox. The number jumped to 39 percent in February and rose again in March.
From a financial perspective, drug and alcohol treatment has not yet become a big expense.
The county pays a predetermined monthly amount to the jail's medical provider.
In cases of severe addiction, the county incurs added costs to guard inmates in detox who remain in custody.
Many of the inmates who require detox are released to inpatient facilities, according to Walton.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings are held at the jail, but no organized treatment programs are provided, Walton told members of the county Prison Board, which includes county commissioners and District Attorney John Peck.
The long-term impact could be costly, according to Dirk Matson, head of Westmoreland County's Human Services Department and chairman of the county's Drug Overdose Task Force.
“Forty-two percent — that's way over the top. It just demonstrates the level of the drug and alcohol problem in our prison and illustrates how we can't take a law enforcement approach only. It's a public health problem,” he said.
As a result, plans are being formulated to help divert defendants who face minor drug charges — but serious addiction problems — from the jail and into treatment programs.
Officials have explored instituting a program that will assist inmates with counseling and job training before they leave the jail.
“We're looking at ways to do things differently,” Matson said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He can bereached at 724-830-6293 email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Arbitration decides Westmoreland court workers’ pact
- Ligonier man first in Pa. to own aluminum-body F-150
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- United Way surplus funds benefit 9 nonprofits in Westmoreland County
- Penn Township man who shot friend gets probation
- Briefs: New Stanton beer distributorship changes hands
- Youngwood fire department reaches out to homeless family
- Judge dismisses Latrobe man’s appeal in ’08 strangulation
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Catholic Diocese of Greensburg bestows $30K to combat poverty