Inmates not always treated for addiction, mental illness

Capital News Service
LANSING — Unpredictable behavior, irrationality, confusion, loss of control: all are symptoms of mental illness and signs of drug abuse. Although the two can be similar, problems of addiction and mental health have long been dealt with separately in county jails, Michigan Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Terrence Jungel said. Mentally ill inmates with drug addictions seeking help for their illnesses often are turned away from treatment because of their substance abuse problem and vice versa, Jungel said. When substance abuse counselors turn away drug addicts because of their mental illnesses or mentally ill patients are turned away because they have substance abuse problems, Jungel said the system is working against itself. “You’ve got two people pointing fingers at each other,” he said.