When police officer finds drugs on a person, or sees someone doing drugs, they make a lawful arrest and begin reading offenders their Miranda rights. The city of Gloucester has changed how their police officers will approach situations involving nonviolent drug offenders. In a radical new way of helping opiate abusers overcome their addictions, Gloucester will begin referring addicts to treatment as opposed to arresting them for possession and use in some cases. Those suffering from heroin use disorders may relinquish their drug related paraphernalia without penalty in exchange for a second chance at life.
Officers will take addicts to emergency rooms while they search for treatment clinics to get them the help many go without. Only one out of ten people struggling with addiction will get the help they need. Since the renewal of the drug epidemic (specifically with heroin) has become a full scale national problem, law enforcement officials are starting to embrace the winds of change and try something new.
This a good strategy that the police are using. A lot of users want to get help, but just don’t know where to start. When drug addicts think of police they think they want to put them away. But now they have changed the game plan and are actually trying to help them. Its time to stop judging these addicts, and actually get them the help that they need. By implementing similar polices cities and states begin to show addicts that we care- as opposed to throwing drug users in jail the first chance we get.
Gloucester’s policy, which the Police Chief says “Is in effect indefinitely, also gives officers the discretion to refer addicts they encounter in the streets or in the community to the new ANGEL program rather than charge them with a crime. However, those with outstanding arrest warrants and certain individuals with three or more drug-related arrests are ineligible,” as quoted by to My Fox.
This program doesn’t apply to everyone. You have to remember drugs take over your body, and mind and without adequate heroin rehab users won’t be able to give their addictions up. The chief has stated no one has taken advantage of the program to turn in anything to officers, but they are not giving up yet. Other states should adopt this idea, and see how it works. This program gives addicts hope who actually want to get out there current situation, and get them some help. Show them that there is a bright light at the end of that tunnel.