Office of Drug Control Policy
Research Shows Jail and Prison-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Initiatives Working

Press Release Date:  Thursday, May 10, 2007  
Contact Information:  Contact Stacy Floden
(502) 564-8220

Frankfort, KY – Representatives from each of the substance abuse treatment programs in Kentucky jails and prisons were invited to an outdoor celebration today to hear the results of the first research from those programs.

“Obviously we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t good news,” said Department of Corrections Commissioner John D. Rees. “We haven’t won the war by any means, but this is the first good battle news anybody has had in a long time.”

At the first outset of any expansion of substance abuse treatment, a decision was made to contract with the University of Kentucky’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research.

“Not only will they provide the validation that we need – proof that we are in fact headed in the right direction – they will guide and help modify our treatment plans for the best possible course for the future,” said Rees. “We must be able to prove our worthiness to not only the General Assembly that provides our funding, but to the general public. The citizens of Kentucky deserve to know that we are first working to keep them safer in this fight against the substance abuse problem, but also that we are spending their money wisely.”

The research showed three key successes:

Illegal drug use decreased for jail and prison clients.

Most (80 percent of jail and 90 percent of prison) clients attended AA/NA and many (48 percent of jail and 90 percent of prison) participated in community treatment.

About two-thirds for both jail and prison clients were not incarcerated at 12 months upon release.

“This shows prison-based and jail-based substance abuse treatment programming is working; it changes behavior,” said Michele Staton-Tindall, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the University of Kentucky College of Social Work and Center on Drug and Alcohol Research.  “All the entering in of information, that is time consuming, pays off because we know now we are headed in the right direction.”

The number of prison and jail substance treatment beds has grown dramatically since 2004 when the number of treatment beds was around 450, compared to the current total of approximately 1,400. The number of jail programs has grown from two in 2004 to the current number of 14.  Prison programs have grown from four in 2004 to the seven we have now.

And this summer, the first of 10 “Recovery Kentucky” centers will open its doors and provide additional treatment beds. These centers will provide 1,000 more beds.

“This is a celebration for those who have been on the front lines, for those who are making a difference in the lives of Kentuckians. This administration has been committed to offering more substance abuse treatment in the facilities since the inauguration than ever before,” said General Norman E. Arflack, Secretary of Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. “We have always been proud of the services provided in the correctional facilities but the outcomes are more dramatic than we could ever have hoped.  These statistics prove that we are succeeding in our attempts to reduce substance abuse and recidivism.”