Many individuals being released from the Cecil County Detention Center (CCDC) in Elkton, Maryland have no money, no car, maybe a cell phone but no charge and no ride home. This leaves them with few options other than walking through Elkton, at risk for committing crimes, becoming a victim of one and/or relapse and overdose. This new program offered by Voices of Hope will provide a toll free number (855-391-4411) for a free ride home from CCDC. VoH Peers will pick them up and make sure they have a place to go – whether it is to their home, their family, a shelter or treatment – and take them there. VoH will also make sure the individual has Naloxone, the medication that can reverse an opioid overdose, and resources for treatment, employment, etc. Individuals with opioid use disorder who are being released from incarceration are at high risk of overdose death due to the reduced tolerance one experiences while not using opiates in jail. If they return to using opiates after release and use the same amount they were using before they went into jail, the result can be an overdose and death.

“The days and weeks following release from incarceration are also a particularly high-risk period for overdose death. A seminal study in Washington State found that, in the two weeks following their release, people who had been incarcerated in state prisons were 129 times more likely to die from an overdose compared to the general public.  A recent study from North Carolina state prisons corroborated this heightened risk, finding that formerly incarcerated people were 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose two weeks post-release.” – Vera

This program was made possible through collaborating and support from the Cecil County Health Department, the Center for Harm Reduction Services at the Maryland Department of Health and the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office. Also, the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services funded this project under subaward number PIGF-2024-0011 – PERFORMANCE INCENTIVE GRANT FUND (AKA JUSTICE REINVESTMENT FUND). All points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of any State or Federal agency.