CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Central Virginia sheriffs are joining together in the endless battle against addiction.
Both Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody and Chesterfield Sheriff Karl Leonard have put recovery programs into place within their respective jails.
"Both Sheriff Woody and myself are faced with it every day because they end up in our jails. If you break that cycle of addiction, you break the cycle of people coming in and out of jail," explained Sheriff Leonard while standing shoulder to shoulder with Sheriff Woody inside the Richmond jail.
He admits that Sheriff Woody's REAL program has inspired him for how he runs his HARP program; both deal with breaking addiction habits, both have seen success.
The HARP program started with just three inmates earlier this year and has grown to include around 100 graduates. Within the first eight months, it d ropped the number of repeat offenders down to three and the number of overdose deaths to zero.
On Wednesday, the programs combined for a "Battle of the Brains" style event, with inmates from each jail facing off against each other in friendly competition. The questions ranged from scientific explanations of addiction to psychological triggers.
"This is much more than just a game. We're trying to increase their knowledge, increase their skills, increase how they feel about themselves," said Sheriff Woody.
"If you can come in here and answer these questions today, that's giving them hope for the future," Sheriff Leonard agreed. "They know once they get out they can answer those questions when they're faced with them out in the community. It's uplifting for them to know they can make it out in society once they leave."
"They're aware the mind is a terrible thing to waste," agreed Sheriff Woody.
The questions were focused on three categories: addiction recovery, criminal and addictive thinking, and relapse prevention.
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