VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- The Vigo County prosecutor is working to help fight addiction here at home. Drug problems continue across the state of Indiana. So far this year the State Health Department reports 8 drug overdose deaths in Vigo County. This is a preliminary count. There were 17 deaths in both 2018 and 2017 in the county. Statewide, Indiana had 1,476 deaths last year.
Monday the County Council approved $25,000 from the prosecutors' office to be given to addiction recovery programs.
"Even one of the murder cases we had, when you get into all the details of the case, you find out there's usually a drug element involved. So it's a big, big, big problem," Terry Modesitt, Vigo County Prosecutor said.
Many counties across the country are looking for different ways to try and combat addiction. Right here in Vigo County we already have a lot of programs.
"We do have a lot of options for recovery in Vigo county as far as sober living, transitional living and there is an awareness in the community with the criminal justice system, the prosecutor, the judges the jail," Natasha Newcomb, Executive director of addiction and substance abuse services at the Hamilton Center said.
Modesitt has been aware of the problem for years. On Monday he asked the County Council to appropriate $25,000 worth of non-tax dollars to go to recovery programs in the county.
"I just realize that throwing everybody that has an addiction problem in jail is just not working," Modesitt said. "If we can resolve the problem with anybody even if it's 1, 2, 5, 10, 100 that many people that we can help and they can get off the drugs and become productive then we've accomplished something."
Newcomb said funding to recovery programs is always needed anywhere. She said in Vigo County these programs have a relationship with the criminal justice system you can't find everywhere.
Right now, the prosecutors' office has not decided where the money will go. Modesitt said he is going to be looking into that right now.