Seminole County opioid addicts get treatment in jail, leave clean

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Inmates arrested for drug-related crimes are leaving the Seminole County jail freed from their habit and going on to a long-term rehabilitation facility.

They’re getting intensive day-long counseling and, in the event that they want it, treatment to recover from the habit. The recovering addicts dwell collectively in a big open room contained in the jail with murals painted on the partitions and with out bars.

It is referred to as “O-pod,” an space particularly designated for inmates hooked on or concerned with opioids.

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma mentioned nobody else in Florida is doing something prefer it.

“It is being good about this. We all know that relapse is part of habit,” Lemma mentioned. “And I feel as sheriff, folks have an expectation that I’ll try to repair what’s damaged with folks on the within.”

An increasing number of Seminole County judges are ordering inmates fighting opioids into O-pod.

Inmates meet with counselors all day for his or her teams, that are conferences during which they talk about every little thing from parenting to funds to drug use.


They’re inspired to take part in yoga within the recreation room and are allowed to make use of their artistic skills to color murals on the partitions.

“We’re not working a Membership Med. It is vitally, very troublesome,” Lemma mentioned. “It’s a heck of rather a lot simpler to scrub up your cell block and play playing cards and video games all day lengthy.”

Lemma mentioned some of the essential parts of O-pod is the direct connection to a long-term rehabilitation facility.

Officers and counselors assist inmates with their purposes for clinics round Central Florida and be certain that an inmate can be accepted earlier than she or he is launched.

“I feel we have now to have a heat hand-off from when any individual’s incarcerated to the companies which are accessible to them on the surface,” Lemma mentioned. “Fairly frankly, there should not sufficient companies on the surface, which is one thing we’re engaged on as a state and a neighborhood. That is new, uncharted territory, however from the suggestions we’re getting, it really works.”


Josh Guckenberger was a former tattoo artist and remanded to O-pod earlier this 12 months.

He had been to jail 4 instances and arrested numerous instances principally over medicine. Most not too long ago he was caught with fentanyl.

“Fortunately I went to jail as a result of that was the one means I used to be gonna cease,” Guckenberger mentioned. “I got here to phrases that I do not wish to die but, and I might have a greater life.”

Earlier than his arrest, Guckenberger overdosed twice back-to-back and was revived with Narcan by his girlfriend.

“She informed me the driving force and the passenger, they bought scared, they have been younger, they’d a useless physique within the again, they usually have been going to throw me on the aspect of the highway and go away,” Guckenberger mentioned.

Guckenberger mentioned as quickly as he was launched from jails and prisons previously, he’d go proper again to a lifetime of medicine and crime to assist his drug behavior.

“You do not have to fret about something in jail; every little thing is taken care of for you,” Guckeberger mentioned.


“If you get out, that is the onerous drawback. You’ll be able to’t work an everyday job and performance whilst you’re on medicine. So while you lose a job, lose your home, lose every little thing you bought, you return to being on the backside of the underside, you gotta steal stuff so you possibly can assist your behavior.”

Guckenberger graduated from O-pod three months in the past and went on to House Coast Restoration. He stays there at night time and works constructing floating spill-containment booms in Cocoa through the day.

Guckberger mentioned he moved to Brevard County to vary every little thing about his life, particularly the folks with whom he hangs round.

“It is going good,” Guckenberger mentioned. “Greatest I’ve ever executed in my life.”

Guckberger mentioned he’ll keep at House Coast Restoration for no less than the following six months and after that can proceed his common every day Narcotics Nameless conferences. He pays $500 per thirty days for his keep.

Sooner or later he’d prefer to open his personal rehab facility.


“Observe via, follow the plan, construct a community with individuals who can assist me and assist me,” Guckenberger mentioned.

Sheriff Lemma mentioned eight out of 10 O-pod graduates be in contact after their launch, whereas most addicts launched from the final inhabitants can’t be discovered.

“By no means in my practically 28 years on the Sheriff’s Workplace have we had inmates petition the decide to increase their sentence as a result of they’re getting clear, and that has occurred 3 times previously few months,” Lemma mentioned.

O-pod was began earlier this 12 months. Lemma mentioned he’ll analyze statistics and analysis and see how this system could be adjusted, if obligatory.

Copyright 2019 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

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