DIGGING DEEPER: Breaking the Cycle of Addiction - WBNG.com: Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

DIGGING DEEPER: Breaking the Cycle of Addiction

(WBNG) -- Imagine being in a jail cell, throwing up, struggling with addiction and having no where to turn when you need help with a serious issue. 
     
Those are just a few of the problems people in our community are facing when they are addicted to drugs and need treatment. Action News dug deeper to find what is being done right here in our community to break the cycle of drug abuse and incarceration.

Jennifer Finelli is a proud mother, holds a steady job and is engaged. She has spent the last five years rebuilding her life. It took an arrest for her to turn things around.

"I couldn't hold down a job. I couldn’t do anything,” said Finelli. “I started stealing from people and one of them pressed charges which I actually got arrested for."

In 2011 she went through the legal system as a felon and drug addict. She went to court, then the Broome County Jail. While she was there, Finelli had no form of physical treatment while inside. 

"I couldn’t really eat. I couldn’t really sleep. I was dry heaving all the time,” she said.

Jennifer was placed in drug court and says she became the exception not the rule by graduating and staying clean. She has been sober ever since, but says many of her friends from drug court are still going in and out of the system. 

Today, the Broome County District Attorney's office says a "significant number" of its cases are drug related. According to deputies at the Broome County Jail, roughly 75 percent of inmates are locked up on a drug-related charge.
     
Since the launch of Operation S.A.F.E. or "Saving Addicts from Epidemic," the Broome County DA's office says it has enrolled 148 people who are getting treatment for addiction all around the country. The program uses grant money to help send addicts who do not have any active warrants or legal issues to get treatment. 

The program is modeled after one initiated last November by the Cooperstown Police Department. Both are a part of Gloucester, Massachusetts Angel Program, through the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), a nonprofit that helps law enforcement agencies adopt Gloucester’s program. 

The Broome County District Attorney’s Office is the first D.A.’s office in the country to initiate the P.A.A.R.I. program. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and needs help, the D.A.'s office will find you treatment.

Addicts, or their family members, are encouraged to call Broome County’s S.A.F.E Line at (607) 778-6119.

A new program is coming to Broome County jail. In the coming months, addicts who are locked up will finally have access to physical treatment. 

"We are partnering up with OASAS (Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and they are going to be offering us a program called the Vivitrol program,” said Lt. Timothy Hill, Broome County Corrections. “What Vivitrol is its actually a drug, an injected drug that you inject an individual and it will block all opioids for a 28-day period and once you inject someone with this substance, they are unable to get high for 28 days. That helps break the cycle."
     
All inmates who suffer from addiction will be eligible for the injections and counseling. 

In Broome County drug court, guidelines have been amended to allow more people with more charges into the program. Finelli had to have family advocate for her because she had felony convictions. If she was an incarcerated addict now, it would be easier for her to join the program. 

Earlier this year, the Addiction Crisis Center in Binghamton got a much-needed addition.

The treatment center on Court Street in Binghamton added two beds to its facility -- giving it a total of 20. Last year the Addiction Crisis Center says it helped 780 people. More than 70 percent of those completed the program and were admitted to the next level of treatment.
Fairview Recovery Services also expanded from 12 to 18 beds.
The Broome County Jail is expected to start the Vivitrol program within the next six months. 

Jennifer Finelli continues to conquer her addiction. She still sees a probation officer and is close to completing her bachelor's degree in Music Therapy.

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