Guilford County government, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department and many local community-based organizations have, in recent years, been putting a great deal of emphasis on helping those who go to jail get on the right path once they get out.

A major part of that effort has been carried out by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office Re-entry Council.

Teens who get addicted to drugs often end up in big trouble and in jail. However, since they’re younger, many consider the prospect of influencing them in a positive way more promising than influencing hardened adults who face the same issues.

On Friday, Oct. 14, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department announced that it’s seeking community partners in this effort.

Everyone agrees that preventing drug use is a major step in moving people away from a criminal lifestyle and reducing the chance of recidivism. And they know that a coordinated effort is necessary.

Recently, for instance, the council met with Crossroads Treatment Center – a Methadone clinic – to discuss how a collaboration between the two can help address the area’s opioid epidemic and protect youngsters in the community.

The Sheriff’s Department is looking for service providers with a focus on helping people who are reentering society after incarceration.  The effort includes mentoring at-risk youth amid the opioid epidemic.

Many groups and organizations share common goals with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office its ongoing battle against the opioid epidemic.

One current huge killer is Fentanyl,  a synthetic opioid, which is often mixed with heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine – and then made into pills that resemble commonly used prescription opioids. Across the country, Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for people ages 18 to 45.

According to data from the Sheriff’s Department, Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine.

“Many people are unaware that their drugs have been mixed with fentanyl,” the statement from the Sheriff’s Department warns. “It only takes one pill to kill.”

As one part of the effort, the department’s Re-entry Council is searching for ways to address substance abuse concerns before referring that person to other services – such as employment or vocational training.

The county’s Re-entry Council’s goal is to help people “rebuild relationships, obtain and sustain employment, become engaged parents, and create better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.”