Many people who develop an Opioid Use Disorder come into contact with the criminal justice system before connecting to other health or social systems. According to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institutes of Health U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this presents opportunities for intervention and treatment prior to, during, after, or in lieu of incarceration. Studies show that combining criminal justice sanctions with chemical dependency treatment can be effective in decreasing drug misuse and associated crime. Additionally, for incarcerated individuals with substance use disorder, starting chemical dependency treatment in prison and continuing the same treatment upon release results in better outcomes: lower rates of overdose, relapse, and recidivism.
Capital Recovery Center is pleased to welcome Krystal Pierce to the role of Justice Outreach Specialist. The Justice Outreach Specialist (JOS) works with Capital Recovery Center’s Olympia Bupe Clinic (OBC) to help justice-involved individuals in Thurston County with an Opioid Use Disorder access opioid treatment medication. Pierce will coordinate with the correctional facilities, pretrial services, alternative courts, re-entry services, and community corrections to identify, assess, and enroll eligible individuals. In addition, Pierce will provide individuals with information about Opioid Use Disorder, opioid treatment medication, and related services, and will connect individuals to treatment at OBC as appropriate.
Thurston County Treatment Sales Tax funds the position through June 2021. The Treatment Sales Tax (TST) is a local funding stream that works alongside federal and state funding such as Medicaid to meet mental health and substance use needs in Thurston County. Programs funded with TST aim to reduce justice involvement, emergency room use, health care costs, and public assistance.
“I fully support the efforts of Capital Recovery Center’s Olympia Bupe Clinic in response to the ongoing opioid epidemic,” said Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim. “We look forward to working closely with Ms. Pierce to forge additional pathways to recovery for criminal justice-involved individuals in Thurston County.”
Previously, Pierce worked as a Nisqually Public Safety Corrections Officer. As a corrections officer, she was able to see firsthand the struggles of incarcerated individuals as they went through unmanaged withdrawal. “I felt very limited in terms of my ability to help these people. In this new role, I have the chance to really work with people in this situation and help provide them with access to treatment.” For more information about Thurston County Treatment Sale Tax, visit: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/tst.aspx
“This new program helps create a transition from jail back into the community and can help people get their life back on track and on the road to recovery,” said Meta Hogan, CRC Program Manager. “At Capital Recovery Center, we offer wrap-around peer-supported recovery, supportive employment, or simply referrals to other resources in the community as appropriate.”