Bucks County, Pa. program has local police connect drug users with treatment

If a Bucks County resident is fighting drug dependancy and on the lookout for speedy assist in getting therapy, officers are actually directing them to a brand new, unlikely ally: native police departments.

Began three years in the past in Bensalem, the Bucks Police Helping in Restoration program trains officers in substance-abuse problems, and has them function “ambassadors” to therapy applications, as Fred Harran, Bensalem’s public security director, put it.

» READ MORE: In Bucks County, a new program is sending first-time drug offenders to treatment instead of to a courtroom

Officers introduced Wednesday that this system has expanded to 12 departments and is slated to embody all the county in a yr.

“We aren’t the consultants in all fields, we aren’t the consultants in drug points, we aren’t the consultants in psychological sickness. However we’re the ambassadors,” Harran stated. “We’ll ambassador to the general public to get you to the consultants, to get you the make it easier to want, no questions requested.”

The county’s Drug and Alcohol Fee acquired a $300,000 grant from the state earlier this yr to increase this system, in response to Diane Rosati, the fee’s govt director. That funding goes towards coaching the officers, in addition to volunteer “navigators” who will help them. It additionally helps pay for the consumption at drug and alcohol therapy facilities, and for the therapy itself if an individual doesn’t have medical insurance.

» READ MORE: Federal government helps Bucks County go after drug traffickers and suppliers with new designation

At present, this system is obtainable in all elements of the county, from Quakertown to Decrease Southampton. Residents all for getting therapy can name or go to a taking part police station and ask for assist, and can obtain an instantaneous consumption evaluation, in response to Rosati.

Throughout its pilot run in Bensalem, this system served about 80 residents. It’s designed, in response to Bucks County District Legal professional Matt Weintraub, to extend “factors of entry” for people who find themselves searching for assist instantly, with the intention of limiting limitations which may discourage them from getting that therapy.

“It has nothing to do with who you might be, whether or not you’re harmless or responsible,” Weintraub stated. “It requires the final word belief: An individual who might have drug paraphernalia on them has to give up themselves to the police and say, ‘I need assistance.’

“And in the event that they’re keen to do this,” he added, “these law enforcement officials will commit themselves to their security.”

» READ MORE: A former guard at Bucks County jail smuggled in opioids to help an inmate drug ring, the DA says

The county debuted an identical program in 2018 by means of the municipal court docket system that targets drug customers after their arrests.

The District Courtroom Diversionary Program engages first-time offenders shortly after their arraignments and places them into therapy instantly. In the event that they full this system, the costs are dropped.

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