Addiction treatment after jail not available

'I wanted to go straight from incarceration,' says Kyle Kenny.

A P.E.I. addict who just finished a jail sentence is angry he was unable to continue addiction treatment immediately after leaving jail.

"Every kind of theft that I did was to go out and feed my addiction," 24-year-old Kyle Kenny told CBC News.

Kenny got hooked on pain killers six years ago after a car accident. He was stealing to pay for hundreds of dollars worth of drugs a week: percocet, dilaudid and oxys.

He got clean during a four-month stay the Provincial Correctional Centre in Sleepy Hollow. When he was released earlier this month, he wanted to go straight into in-depth addiction treatment from jail, but a lack of coordination of jail and community addictions services got in the way.

Kenny asked to go directly into P.E.I.'s youth day program or to in-house treatment in New Brunswick, but he had to go back to once-a-week counselling.

"The reason why I'm so mad about it is I've been crying out for help," said Kenny.

"I wanted to go straight from incarceration, not get out on the street and risk the relapse."

On P.E.I., jail addictions services are offered by correctional services and community treatment by Health PEI. The two services were unable to coordinate, and Kenny will not get into full-time treatment until mid-December.

Kenny said the lack of coordination is particularly difficult to understand, given that a recent corrections review found 70 per cent inmates are struggling with addictions.

Margaret Kennedy, director of addictions for Health PEI, said a committee is looking at the problem.

"[We want to make] sure they have a smooth transition," said Kennedy.

"We wouldn't necessarily want somebody to start over."

That committee is expected to release recommendations next month.