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'Life-changing' drug treatment program at Bartholomew County jail recognizes latest graduates

One recent graduate described BART lessons as "life-changing."

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The Bartholomew County sheriff is recognizing the graduates of BART, the jail's drug treatment program.

BART stands for begin, accept, reveal and transform. Organizers call them core, clinical parts to bring about change in any person.

How does it work?

The program lasts 12 weeks and is completed in seven phases. The participants work with therapists for group treatment and individual sessions.

The program has graduated 128 participants in three years. A graduate of the most recent class called the program "life-changing." Another said it was something he needed to get a better outlook on life.

The success of this program comes as Bartholomew County deals with record numbers of overdose deaths.

In 2018, there were 17 deaths. There were 24 in 2019 and that number jumped to 31 in 2020. Last year there were 33, and so far this year, there have been at least 35 overdose deaths.

The Bartholomew County coroner said most of the people who died had fentanyl or a mix of drugs in their systems.

The county started an overdose fatality review team to dig into the data and find new solutions to curb the trend.

"Looking at patterns in our community, trying to find those gaps and those resources that we can really support those individuals to try to pinpoint what those pressure points are," said Julie Miller, executive director of Family Services Inc.

Experts point to the timing of the pandemic. They say there's a clear connection between that and these overdose numbers because of depression and mental trauma.


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