Picture the scene: Jim hesitates at the front door of the building. His head drops. He shuffles his feet in indecision. His hands shake.
He has struggled with drug use for seven years, and he’s ready to get help. Unsure where to turn, he ends up at the last place he would have expected to get help with his illegal habit. But, he heard from a reliable source that there’s support inside. An “angel with a badge” is waiting to lead him to treatment.
Jim takes a deep breath…and enters the Kentucky State Police station.
The Bluegrass State’s New Approach
With overdoses stealing the lives of more than 1,400 Kentuckians a year, Kentucky State Police decided to take action.
No, they aren’t upping their arrest efforts. They’ve launched a brand new program called the Angel Initiative.
This effort “encourages people suffering with a substance use disorder (SUD) to visit a local KSP post for help with treatment.” When those seeking treatment visit a Kentucky State Police post, they’re paired with an officer who helps them find help not a prison cell.
The program’s goal is to provide a safe haven where people can come for help without fear of retribution. In order to provide this help, captains at each station have established partnerships with:
- Faith-based initiatives
- Treatment programs
- Medical facilities
- Local law enforcement agencies
The Angel Initiative falls under Gov. Bevin’s “Don’t Let Them Die” campaign, which is designed to raise substance abuse awareness and offer treatment resources. Gov. Bevin notes, “The strategic geographic locations of our 16 KSP posts will allow ready access for individuals across the Commonwealth who are seeking help. Breaking the cycle of addiction will require increased efforts by many, and innovative public-private collaborations like the Angel Initiative have the power to transform the lives of Kentuckians and communities we live in.”
Help, Not Punishment
KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders assures the public this initiative is a healthy approach. “This is not being soft on crime – it’s being smart on crime,” he explains. “KSP is as dedicated as ever to pursuing and stopping drug dealers. When those suffering from addiction are released from prison without any treatment, our prisons become revolving doors. If our communities are ever to be free of the cycle of addiction, treatment is necessary.”
Sanders adds, “Our troopers, as well as local law enforcement officials, see firsthand the devastation addiction causes for families. That’s why our agency is committed to face this scourge head on. We can’t arrest our way out of this problem. We want to provide help to citizens battling addiction.”
Additional Reading: Jail vs Treatment – Law Enforcement Summit Seeks Solutions
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