Courthouse one-stop-shop aims to ease path to sobriety for opioid addicts

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In what could be the first-of-its-kind courthouse-based program in Ohio, jail inmates upon release receive their initial shot of Vivitrol, a medication that reduces cravings and blocks brain receptors from feeling opioids’ effects, in Franklin County Municipal Court.

Chris Vaughn walked out of Franklin County’s Downtown jail, squinted into the sudden burst of daylight and finally breathed in air that didn’t smell like a mix of musty concrete, body odor and urine.

He looked directly at the woman there waiting for him and asked her the only question on his mind right then: “Can I have a cigarette?”

Jen Leffler was way ahead of him. She already had pulled several from a pack buried in her purse, so she handed one to Vaughn and each of the three women she was picking up at the jail on that Wednesday morning in late March. And then Leffler, a peer-support specialist with Franklin County’s Office of Justice Policy & Programs, herded the group around the block to the Franklin County Municipal Court building.

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