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Kenton Jail's Director of Addiction Services Tapped for New Position

The Kenton County Detention Center employee who helped develop a residential drug treatment program there is joining Addiction Recovery Care (ARC), the organization announced.

Jason Merrick will serve as senior director of outpatient services for ARC, a provider of addiction treatment and recovery services in Kentucky.

“Over the years, Addiction Recovery Care has played an absolutely critical role in helping more people reach long-term recovery, and I am proud to be joining the team,” said Merrick, in a news release. “Kentucky has made great progress in getting more people on the path to recovery, but all of us know our work is still cut out for us. At ARC, I’m confident I’ll be able to continue making a positive difference in the lives of our community members who have been impacted by substance use and addiction.”

In his role with ARC, Merrick will help to expand and promote the organization’s outpatient services, while spearheading new growth and development in Northern Kentucky and Ohio, the announcement said. ARC currently operates an outpatient center in Kenton County and opened Eagle Creek, its first residential treatment center in the Northern Kentucky region, in Owenton earlier this year.

ARC’s outpatient services are typically recommended for individuals with stable physical and mental health and supportive home and work environments who are seeking a more flexible treatment option. These services can also be effective for clients who have already had success in a residential program. ARC’s outpatient clients receive clinical treatment with group or individual counseling delivered onsite or via outpatient telecare.

Merrick was most recently director of addiction services at the Kenton County Detention Center in Covington, Kentucky. Under his leadership, the Kenton County Detention Center developed, implemented and managed a 125-bed, licensed residential treatment program. This program has been called critical in increasing access to treatment for individuals in, and transitioning out of the criminal justice system and has served as a model for other states implementing similar programs.

He also co-authored the 2013 report, “Northern Kentucky’s Collective Response To the Heroin Epidemic,” which offered a comprehensive approach to combating addiction in the region and increasing access to treatment.

“Jason is a true leader in treatment and recovery, not just in Kentucky but across the U.S., and we are thrilled to have him on board,” said Pat Fogarty, ARC’s senior vice president of operations. “Addiction Recovery Care continues to grow in order to meet rising demand for treatment and recovery services, and Jason will be a critical part of our efforts to expand in areas where more access is needed.”

Merrick is a certified alcohol and drug counselor and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University, where he earned his master’s degree in social work. He has earned national media coverage from CBS Evening News with Jim Axelrod and TIME Magazine’s Opioid Diaries, among others, for his work in the field of addiction treatment and recovery. He was also named one of Cincinnati's Most Inspirational People of 2014.

-Staff report

Photo: Jason Merrick (provided)