Recently we have seen that there has been more support behind finding addicts help above charging and convicting them. Not long ago the Gloucester Police Department of Massachusetts created an open door policy. Any struggling addict was allowed to walk through the door and state that they are struggling and want to get help for their addiction, without fear of penalty. As promised, addicts who came through the Gloucester Police Department were not charged but given the resources and connections needed to determine the best treatment options for them.
It has now been six months since this idea began in Massachusetts and after seeing the effectiveness of the process some other police departments have decided to follow in their footsteps. Nashville, North Carolina is leading the south in finding ways to better address addiction. The Chief of Police of Nashville was inspired by the idea of the open door policy. For that, he has began his own spin on the idea and has named it the Hope Initiative. Unfortunately because of the small size of Nashville, there are not any inpatient facilities and options when it comes to addicts getting treatment are limited.
When an addict does go to the Nashville Police Department they will be made comfortable at the station so that they can fill out all of the necessary paperwork. While doing so there will be a volunteer, usually someone who is currently active in recovery. From there the addict is taken to the hospital where they can begin their detox process. Because of the limitations some volunteers and police officers must contact treatment facilities not only across the state, but across the country. The most challenging part for many is finding openings or finding somewhere they will be accepted depending on insurance, criminal history and other factors. Worse case scenario is the addict is placed on a waiting list and in the meantime will go to a short term facility so that they are still getting the help that they need.
Obstacles to Progress
The program began in Nashville, North Carolina in February of this year. Since then there have been a total of 11 individuals who have come to the police department to ask for help in conquering their addiction. The biggest problem that Chief Bashore has encountered during the Hope Initiative is finding openings at long-term treatment facilities. For that he believes that the establishment of more long-term facilities are the best way in helping aid addicts overcome their addiction. Bashore’s biggest hope is that other Police Departments will follow and create similar programs that are there to help addicts versus punishing them.
Help is Here
If you or someone you know needs help for a drug or alcohol addiction, call the treatment professionals at 1-800-203-2024 for your free confidential assessment.