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York County Jail distributes 'harm reduction bags' to former residents

The bags contain items like Narcan, birth control, and brochures to connect people to services

ALFRED, Maine — Editors note: The video above aired Nov. 14, 2021.

The York County Sheriff's Office has created a new initiative to help men and women as they are released from jail.

The office is giving out "harm reduction bags" to help inmates when they are released. The bags contain items like Narcan, birth control, fentanyl test strips, and brochures that can connect people to services.

"When someone is incarcerated and they get released, oftentimes they lose their natural supports. When they're released, they are going to be able to have access to all of the options, to all of the services out in the community," York County Sheriff Bill King said.

"Ideally, yes, we want them in recovery and actively trying to heal, but certainly if they are not ready, we can keep them alive," said Southern Maine Health Care's Dr. Jessika Morin, 

King said everyone leaving the jail – typically 1,400 people a year –  will receive a bag. He said the bags are funded by a federal grant.

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