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How one jail's philosophy is turning the addiction epidemic on its head.

Ryan Hampton was a year into recovery when he learned a difficult lesson: silence kills.

While his professional and personal relationships were both improving, the former heroin addict was still actively avoiding awkward conversations about his decade-long battle with opioid addiction.

But after three friends died from addiction in a matter months, Hampton knew he had to speak up — about his own struggles and the addiction problems spreading across the entire United States.


"In an epidemic that’s taking 78 lives every day to opioid overdoses, only 10 percent of Americans who seek help for their substance use disorder actually get it," he wrote in a White House blog post. "This number is mind-blowing, and it’s unacceptable."

Ryan Hampton. Image via Facing Addiction/YouTube.

So Hampton packed his bags and took a road trip​ from Pasadena to Philadelphia to connect with those who were struggling with heroin addiction.

Hampton's newfound sobriety had enabled him to pursue his lifelong interest in politics, and he had been selected as an official delegate for the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. He and his best friend from his treatment program drove across the country to the convention, chronicling the stories of people they met along the way.

They visited small towns and cities alike, meeting with families who'd lost loved ones to substance abuse and individuals living through long-term recovery. Along the way, they witnessed firsthand the hope that proper health care could bring to those afflicted with addiction and also the harsh realities of underfunded rehab programs.

But one place stood out on his journey: Virginia's Chesterfield County Jail.

By February 2016, the heroin problem in Chesterfield County had reached an all-time high, with overdoses increasing by 80% from the previous year.

As the prison cells started filling up with more addicts than ever before, Sheriff Karl Leonard realized that a new approach was needed. "We needed to think outside the box to create workable solutions," the sheriff told Progress Index. "Instead of institutionalizing these guys in the criminal justice system, why not approach this from a medical standpoint?"

With help from the McShin Recovery Resource Foundation, the county jail launched the Heroin Addiction Recovery Program (HARP).

The program is revolutionary for a prison. It offers medical treatment, clinical peer-to-peer counseling, and mental services for inmates struggling with addiction. The HARP program also provides assistance in finding professional care after their release from prison — a coping strategy that actually addresses the disease of addiction in the long term instead of trapping people in an endless cycle of detox, crime, and relapse.

Perhaps most remarkably,the program took less than a week to implement, and it costs less than $750 per inmate per year. That's a lot less than the cost of jail time for taxpayers, and the money comes entirely from the jail's basic operating fund — meaning the sheriff gets no financial support for the program.

HARP has already seen 47 graduates in its first six months, some of whom even asked for longer stays behind bars in order to ensure that their sobriety sticks.

With permission from the sheriff, Hampton took a Facebook Live video from inside the jail, and inmates shared their inspiring stories with him.

Hundreds of thousands of people tuned in for a rare Facebook Live event broadcast from inside a county jail.

Since the War on Drugs began in the early 1980s, prison populations have increased by almost 600% — and nearly half of those people are serving time on drug-related charges. But most prisons aren't like the Chesterfield County Jail, and incarcerated opioid users often die from withdrawal while they're still behind bars, or they overdose shortly after their release.

Hampton's live-stream gave a voice to often-ignored individuals whose lives had been wrecked by addiction.

He helped to humanize their experiences and showed the world firsthand how bad our country's opioid has gotten.

You can see the video here:

What's up Facebook? It's the inmates at the Chesterfield County Jail's HARP program here. We've taken over Ryan's live from within the walls of the jail - first time EVER that a Facebook live has been done from inside a jail. We have a message for America. So listen up! #WeDoRecover #AddictionXAmerica #PourYourHeartOut

Posted by Ryan Hampton on Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hampton's video serves as a powerful reminder for all of us that people suffering from addiction don't deserve to be treated like villainous pariahs.

Addiction is a clinical disease, and folks who are struggling deserve understanding and compassion. They deserve help, and a cure.

According to one study, the U.S. economy could also save nearly $13 billion per year by simply providing comprehensive drug addiction treatment and recovery services to people, instead of throwing them in jail. That doesn't even include the lives that would be saved and the emotional distress that would be avoided by the reduction in crime and loved ones dying from overdoses.

The opioid epidemic is on the rise, and it's not something we can jail our way out of. But maybe with a little empathy, we can channel Hampton and actually save some lives and improve our communities along the way, too.

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Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

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Man tries to correct a female golfer's swing, having no idea she's actually a pro

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Representative Image from Canva

A man tried to tell a pro golfer she was swing too slow.

We’re all probably familiar with the term “mansplaining,” when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending or patronizing way. Often, this comes in the form of a man explaining a subject to a woman that she already knows on an expert level. The female neuroscientist who was told by a man that she should read a research paper she actually wrote comes to mind.

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The word "jumbo" literally comes from an elephant.

The evolution of language is fascinating, and the etymology of specific words can be a fun little trip through human history as well as human creativity.

Many English words are derived from Greek and Latin, but other European languages make up a good chunk of our language as well. The roots of some words can surprise us, and so can the way certain words came to be. And in some cases, what we don't know can be just as surprising as what we do.

Enjoy diving into the history of 15 words we use every day.

1. Dog

Dog is often one of the first words babies learn to say, and it's one of the first kids learn to spell. But don't let its simplicity fool you. This word is truly a mystery.

The word "dog" comes from dogca, a very rarely used Old English word, but how we started using it as our everyday name for canines, no one knows. "Its origin remains one of the great mysteries of English etymology," according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Even more interestingly, no one knows the origins of the Spanish word for "dog" ("perro"), nor do they know the origins of the Polish ("pies") or Serbo-Croatian ("pas") words for our canine friends, either. Who knew dogs were so enigmatic?

2. Nightmare

It's obvious where "night" comes from in "nightmare," but what about "mare"? Surely, were not referring to a female horse here.

Horse, no. But female, yes. Female goblin, to be precise. In Old English, mare means "incubus, nightmare, monster; witch, sorcerer." And "nightmare" started being used around 1300 to refer to "an evil female spirit afflicting men (or horses) in their sleep with a feeling of suffocation." Yikes. Thankfully, now it's just any old bad dream.

3. Jumbo

We've all seen animals named for words with certain meanings, but here we have the opposite. The word "jumbo" came from a large elephant who lived at the London Zoo. Zookeeper Anoshan Anathjeysari named him "Jumbe," the Swahili word for "chief." But his status as one of the largest African bush elephants in Europe in the 19th century caused his nickname, Jumbo, to become synonymous with enormousness.

muscular man exercising

Run, little mouse, run.

Photo by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash

4. Muscle

The Latin word musculus means "little mouse." As hilarious as it sounds, they thought the movement of muscles looked like little mice scurrying under the skin, hence the origin. Kinda ick to think about, but also logical, so here we are.

5. Quarantine

Ah, a word with which we are all familiar, thanks to COVID-19. But do we know what it really means?

If you understand roots, you may guess that "quar" might have something to do with the number four, and you'd be right. In Latin, quadraginta means a period of 40 days. Our usage of "quarantine" to mean isolation from others comes from the Venetian policy of ships coming into port from plague-stricken countries in the late 1300s to remain in port for 40 days before letting people off. The usage to mean any period of time in isolation began being used in the 1600s.

6. Mortgage

Most of us grow up not really understanding what a mortgage is until we buy our first house, but even then, most of us don't know what the word literally means. It comes from Old French, mort gaige, literally meaning "death pledge."

HAHAHAHAHA. Death pledge. Mortgage. That's funny.

However, it doesn't mean you're tied to the debt til you die, even if it feels like it. The death part means the deal dies either when you pay it off or when you become unable to pay. Doesn't really change the fact that it feels a bit like you're signing your life away when you buy a house, though.

ball of yarn

What does a ball of yarn have to do with "clue"?

Photo by Philip Estrada on Unsplash

7. Clue

Oddly enough, "clue" comes from a misspelling (or alternate spelling from before standardized spelling was a thing) of the word "clew," meaning a ball of yarn.

The word itself comes from German, but its usage points to the Greek myth in which Ariadne gives Theseus a ball (or clew) of yarn to help him escape the labyrinth. Now we use it to refer to anything that helps us solve a mystery.

8. Nice

The word "nice" is nice and simple, right? It's the most basic word we use for "pleasant," a definitively positive word. But this seemingly simple word has been through quite the trek in its etymology.

From the Latin nescius, meaning "ignorant, unaware," it was used to mean "timid" or"faint-hearted" before the year 1300. A couple hundred years later, it had morphed to "fussy, fastidious" or "dainty, delicate." In another 100 years, it changed to "precise, careful." Tack on another few hundred years and we're at "agreeable, delightful," and from there it was only short jaunt to "kind, thoughtful."

What a nice journey from insult to compliment.

9. Shampoo

I would have bet money that the word "shampoo" was French in origin, but nope. It's Hindi, coming from the term champo, and the original meaning was "to massage, rub and percuss the surface of (the body) to restore tone and vigor." It's only been used to refer specifically to lathering and washing out strands of hair or carpet since the mid 1800s.

10. Torpedo

Literally Latin for a stingray. As in the marine animal. That comes from the root word torpere, which means "be numb," since a ray's sting can numb you. It doesn't become the word for a propelled underwater explosive until the last couple hundred years.

11. Ambidextrous

We know that left-handedness was seen negatively throughout much of human history, but even the word that means "able to use both hands equally" has a right-handed bias baked into it. The medieval Latin ambidexter literally meansliterally means "right-handed on both sides."

Isn't English fun?