Chesterfield County inmates go viral for Facebook video on opioid addiction

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Chesterfield County women’s jail is making national headlines following a Facebook live video shot inside the jail aimed at tackling opioid addiction.

Patsy Garnet is an inmate in the jail seeking long-term recovery from her heroin addiction. She is seen speaking out in the video about how the county’s Heroin Addiction Recovery Program (HARP) is helping inmates like herself get clean. Garnet says she was on her way to the medical facility when Chesterfield County Sheriff, Karl Leonard, asked how he can help.

“He asked me if I was a heroine addict and I said with my head hung low, I said, yes I am,” Garnet explained in the video. “He said, ‘what can I do to help you?’ I said you can give me a program that works.”

The video, made possible by Sheriff Leonard and the McShin Foundation, gives a personal glimpse of how widespread opiate addiction is.

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Ridgley Morman is a former probation officer who got hooked on opiates after a medical issue.

“A doctor prescribed me opiates and I got hooked,” she said. “The doctor cut me off, but I was already in the grips of the disease. So, I started committing crimes and breaking the law out of fear of withdrawl and desperation.”

6e07c1dea39b4491908e2d26db59d897The McShin foundation works to make treatment accessible to addicts here in Central Virginia and throughout the country. McShin Operations Manager, David Rook, hopes the video will push lawmakers to fund programs dedicated to opioid recovery.

“It’s important that we create more programs like this and that we have them available to people who suffer addiction,” Rook said. “We can reduce recidivism rates. We can rebuild families, our communities will become stronger.”

For lawmakers and the incoming administration, Garnet’s question is this, “Are you going to keep bypassing and turning a blind eye to this disease that is causing us to lose so many people or are you going to be a part of what changes the world.”

To watch the entire 24-minute video, click here.

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