ENFIELD, Conn. – It’s day 229 in a row of injecting the needle into his arm. He’s fed up. He’s tired, broken, alone, having sacrificed everything he loves for the drug that once made him feel at peace. He knows he needs the help, but where can he turn?
It’s a way to face a threat in a new perspective. Up until now, opiate addicts have avoided police in Enfield, Conn. But now, law enforcement officials in the small town have opened their doors with a brand new policy – offering treatment instead of punishment.
The order to members of the police department states, “Any individual who enters the Enfield Police Department, or who otherwise contacts the Enfield Police Department and requests help with their addiction to opiates will be provided with medical assistance, as described below, in lieu of an arrest of that individual. Any officer having contact with such an individual will notify the shift commander that a potential opioid addiction intake is requesting help with their addiction.”
Officers who encounter users while on duty that possess personal amounts of opiates may refer users to a treatment facility and medical or therapeutic professionals in combination with or in lieu of an arrest. “Officers will consult with their supervisor to determine whether an arrest, medical referral, or both, are appropriate under the facts of a given interaction.”
There are a few restrictions, however. As stated in the policy, “In the event that a person under age 18 does request assistance under this policy, every reasonable effort shall be made to contact a parent or legal guardian to attempt to secure such assistance.” Users with outstanding warrants are also exempt from the program.
Kyle S. Reyes is the Chief Executive Officer of The Silent Partner Marketing, the National Spokesman for Law Enforcement Today and creator of Behind the Uniforms and The Whiskey Patriots. Reyes is also an acclaimed keynote speaker on patriotism and leadership, entrepreneurship and marketing by storytelling. You can follow him on Facebook.