Nov. 15, 2022 – “What’s important is how do we accommodate and address the issues folks are facing,” Birmingham said. “We have an organization that supports the working professionals: the counselors, the prevention specialists. We provide a lot of training.”

From his roots in Kansas City, Kansas, and during years of police work in Arkansas, Birmingham consistently found that addiction exists everywhere, in big cities, in suburbia, in rural America. It is also common for addicts to have nowhere to go except jail for treatment, such as it is. In his time as a maximum security prison guard, Birmingham said he essentially never saw convicts get clean through the resources available, and that translates throughout the system. The problem must be attacked before people get to that level, by social workers and law enforcement officers who have the training to help.

“As much as we want to say that the system is ‘rehabilitative’ — it’s easy for us to send someone to jail or prison for their drug problem, and they’ll come out cured of their problems — the reality is, things aren’t in place to actually do that,” Birmingham said.