Drug addicts often run away from police officers, fearing they could be arrested, but a relatively new program in Northeast Ohio is changing that dynamic.
Heroin addicts can literally walk through the station doors or call for assistance to get into treatment.
“We’re dissolving the walls between the addicted demographic who’ve been running away from the police and we’ve been chasing on the job, and now we’re opening our doors and saying to them, come on into our police department and we’re here to help you,” explained Olmsted Township Police Chief Matthew Vanyo.
The officers work with treatment facilities, social service agencies, medical professionals and clergy to find the best path for each individual and follow-up on their progress.
“Our very first intake was pregnant at the time she came through and she’s the proud mother of a new baby and she’s doing very well. I’ve seen a difference,” said Berea Police Chief Joe Grecol.
There are some restrictions with the program, but for more information you can contact the Berea or Olmsted Township police departments.