COLUMBUS (WCMH)–There are many reasons people begin using drugs. Some to escape sadness, and others use it to escape the physical pain of war.
“I had a non-combat-related injury and I started on opiate pain pills it slowly went from pain pills to heroin use it kind of took me down–put me in a real vicious cycle,” said veteran Thomas Edler.
He’s spent the last year in the custody of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
“We have the opportunity to help them with things like getting their DD2-14s again connecting them with the VA who will come in and do assessments and provide them with discharge planning,” said Tresalyn Butler, who is helping lead the effort to house those and other resources for the county’s incarcerated veterans all within one unit.
“We know that sometimes some of the things veterans are facing, in terms of trauma, addiction and just the stigmas that come with being a veteran and incarcerated and so we’re able to bring those services directly to them,” said Butler.
In an open space, deputies will embed with inmates. The unites are designed to address overall mental health. There is netting that replaces steel bars and there’s a medical room with natural lighting.
“The key to this is classification,” said Sheriff Dallas Baldwin. “You’re classified based on your charges, your behavior, your past history.”
The concept is far different from when the sheriff started in law enforcement in 1978.
“They help out so much with everything to connect you with people on the street I mean that can help you,” said Edler.
Edler has been getting help with post traumatic stress disorder and other battles.
“It’s been a complete 180. I was hopeless, down and out when I first came to jail 10 I’ve had so much help from everybody it’s just great.. my head is so much more clear since I’ve been off drugs and everything just seems like it’s falling in order like I’m starting to talk to my daughter again my mom’s back in my life.”