NEWBURGH HEIGHTS, Ohio– Just when it seems like we might be losing the war on drugs, the FOX 8 I-Team has found something that’s working.
The Safe Passages Program is a collaborative law enforcement initiative that made several area police stations access points for substance abuse treatment.
Police officials work with agencies to help the person in substance abuse treatment facilities and programs.
The program started in the area two years ago. It currently has 16 partner agencies in several counties.
“We knew we had to do something,” said Berea Police Chief Joe Grecol. “We were constantly responding out to overdose after overdose. We were thinking there had to be more that could be done.”
So Berea and Olmsted Township police officials were the first in the area to offer the program.
Soon after, Newburgh Heights and Bedford police joined. Now several departments in four counties are part of the program and 250 people have been given the resources to help them get treatment.
“At first we didn’t know what to expect,” said Chief John Majoy. “We had never done anything like this when dealing with illegal drugs.”
And while the officers were nervous, so were those who were seeking help.
“It was at the end of my road,” said Dave, who asked us not to use his last name. “I didn’t know what else to do. So I came up with the guys to walk into a police station, voluntarily, and I asked for help.”
And Dave says it’s been 18 months and he has a job and a bank account.
He says he is extremely grateful.
Bedford Police Chief Marty Stemple says the officers, who were at first apprehensive of the program, are now finding great satisfaction in being to help so many people.