Lake County sheriff surveys inmates about opioid abuse
More than 400 Lake County jail inmates have completed a survey about opioid and substance use that authorities say they hope will help them develop programs to help those suffering from those disorders.
The Lake County sheriff's office, which oversees the jail, worked with the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management on an in-depth, eight-page survey offered to inmates in early February, officials said in a news release Thursday. Authorities said the purpose of the survey was to better understand and address the initial causes of opioid and substance abuse disorder.
Of the 540 inmates in custody, authorities said 430 volunteered to take the survey. Officials said almost 65 percent of people incarcerated nationwide meet the criteria to be diagnosed with substance use disorder, according to statistics from 2010.
"This is a groundbreaking opportunity for us to compile validated data to better address the opioid epidemic," Sheriff Mark Curran said in the news release. "Partnering with Lake Forest Graduate School of Management is a terrific opportunity for us to better understand the core issues of opioid addiction and substance use disorder."
Officials said they hope to develop opportunities at the jail that could aid those with substance use disorder in an effort to reduce recidivism.
Officials said the survey issued to inmates was "confidential and intense" and dealt with some deeply personal issues related to the reasons the inmates were incarcerated and why they did or didn't abuse substances.
"I believe in order for us as a society to genuinely understand and address the opioid cycle, we need to determine the root cause of why someone turns to opioids," Curran said. "We have a number of inmates in the Lake County jail who have struggled with opioid addiction and we are researching innovative ways to better treat those addicted."
The survey was generated by Lake Forest School of Management's Dr. Bryan Watkins, a vice president and chief academic officer, and Jeanne Kueter, an assistant director of institutional research. Jail administrators and members of the sheriff's office also participated in drafting the survey, officials said.
The school is compiling the survey results, Sgt. Christopher Covelli said. The hope is to have the results in March, he said.
"The overall point is to use the data to be able to reassess and create new programs in the jail to help aid inmates suffering from substance abuse disorders," Covelli said. "In the end, we hope this will help inmates suffering from substance abuse and help us reduce recidivism at the jail."