More early released inmates are met by drug recovery advocate

FOX Files

ST. LOUIS – Thirty-five inmates were released late Friday afternoon from the St. Louis Justice Center amid the pandemic. Waiting outside was Chad Sabora.

Sabora, who’s in long-term recovery, now someone who helps other addicts.

“I’m here to make sure they don’t die,” he said. “That is why I’m here first and foremost to ensure life.”

Sabora says he usually teaches drug education when the inmates are still locked up. He says those classes have disappeared under the COVID-19 crisis.

“If people in my line of work are not proactive in getting people access to treatment, getting them Naloxone, getting them tools to stay alive, we are going to see a massive spike in overdose deaths on top of the ones we’re already seeing in the current crisis.”

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner says the city has worked with Sabora on recent early releases.

“We gave people who were entering into our phased regular classes a care package, gave them the help that they could contact us as well as Mr. Chad Sabora, how to use Narcan safely,” she said. “We made sure we had information from public health respective of who to call and where to go, if you need testing or you feel like you’ve been exposed, so we’ve done that – two weeks ago.”

As reported earlier this week, judges across the St. Louis area have been identifying low-level offenders and releasing them in order to avoid an outbreak in the jails.

More than 100 inmates have been released recently in St. Louis, in the County and St. Charles County combined. Judges are continuing to review more cases for potential early release.

“Our already scarce treatment resources are even more scarce. Probably 80 percent of our state-funded or Medicaid facilities are no longer taking admissions,” Sabora said. “So people are going to walk out, hopefully, the time they spent and the treatment they got was sufficient but if not, it’s a very scary world out there now.”

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