Ky. jails becoming popular place for heroin treatment

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - With the continued rise of heroin use in Kentucky, jail is becoming a popular place for treatment.

"Every day. Literally every day of the week," said Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders.

He and his staff deal with heroin-related cases daily.

"At least 75 percent of our cases are either heroin possession, heroin trafficking, or some other offense that was a crime being committed by an addict," Sanders told FOX19.

As those numbers climb, he's seeing a rising number of families looking to jails for help. More and more families are coming to his office, and heading to the courtroom to plead with judges.

"Whether it's through a criminal case, or through Casey's Law, people are seeking to have their loved ones locked up where at least they know they're safe," Sanders said.

Patty Smith knows what it's like to put someone you love in jail. She used Casey's Law to involuntarily get treatment for her daughter, Stacey, after discovering her using pills and heroin.

"I didn't know anything else that would work than to put her behind bars to keep her away from drug addicts, to keep her away from people selling it," said Patty Smith.

Stacey spent time in jail and rehab facilities as part of the treatment. She's been clean about three months now. It's the jail system her family is grateful for in keeping her off the streets and away from heroin.

"You don't put them in jail because they've never committed a felony, but in this case, that was what I had to do," added Smith.

Sanders tells FOX19 that the criminal justice system was never meant to be a drug treatment center, but right now, there aren't any other alternatives in most cases.

To put the problem in perspective, Sanders says he had about 25 cases on the docket on Wednesday. Of them, about 15 were heroin-related.

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