Van parked outside of Baltimore jail offers drug treatment
The BHLI (Behavioral Health Leadership Institute) mobile staff van parks regularly outside Baltimore Central Booking & Intake Center in an effort to help people with addiction receive treatment. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun video)
By Meredith Cohn and Andrea K. McDaniels
Contact Reporters The Baltimore Sun | January 3, 2018, 6:00 AM
Homeless, occasionally incarcerated and about 24 hours after his last hit of heroin, Norman Jones walked into the big white van parked just steps from the door to Baltimore City’s jail looking for an exit from his way of life.
“Enough is enough,” said the 56-year-old Jones as he waited for a prescription for buprenorphine to ease withdrawal and long-term cravings.
The van, a mobile treatment facility launched two months ago, lures people leaving the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center with a sign advertising its services. It is the city’s latest and perhaps most in-your-face option for people who circulate in and out of jail and prison, often for addiction-related crimes, but receive no treatment on the inside.
Even though the opioid overdose crisis spurred Gov. Larry Hogan to declare a state of emergency in Maryland, dedicating more funding for treatment, the jail population remains largely overlooked, advocates say.
About 65 to 70 percent of those who are arrested and jailed in Baltimore have a substance-use problem, from alcohol to heroin.
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