$100,000 Grant For Substance Abuse Treatment Expansion In Lima, Ohio

A program known as SAAFE was launched about a month ago by the Lima Police Department. The committee for Opioid Action has decided it would be most effective to steer offenders in the direction of treatment and recovery rather than jail in order to fix the root of the problem, so that these crimes won't happen repeatedly.

This will not only improve the quality of life for the addicts, but their families, friends, and community who surround them.

The program will receive a grant for $100,000 to improve the quality of the program. This will give access to better more affective facilities for addicts to recover.

Nick Hart is a Sargent for the Lima Police Department. He believes in giving people in the community a second chance at turning their life around instead of facing criminal charges.

He discussed his concern for the opioid epidemic after a first hand experience. While working as a security officer at a fast-food restaurant, he witnessed a couple of young adults who showed “obvious signs of drug addiction.” There was nothing he could do in that moment.

“and a month later they were both dead,” Hart said. “That got us thinking what else we could do as law enforcement officers.”

In order to prevent cases like this in the future, the officers created the SAAFE program to help those who need it.

He mentioned a case involving a mother at the age of 30 who was caught with heroin on her, she will avoid being charged as a criminal if she chooses to enter the recovery program.

“Our goal is not to put them in jail,” Hart said of victims of drug abuse. “We’re not going to arrest our way out of this problem. We want to get these people some help. Our goal is treatment, not incarceration.”

Since the program was established this summer, there have been 7 people referred to join by the court. According to Hart, 3 of these people have entered the program and have taken serious control of their future. As time goes on, the program will continue to serve the people in the area who need it the most.

Joe Kitchen of the Bath Fire Department "praised" the new program for its efforts and achievements at the Opioid Action Coalition meeting.

“I’m really impressed with what the Lima Police Department is doing,” Kitchen said. “This is an awesome program.”

Across the state, $3 Million will be divided between 40 law enforcement agencies along with their treatment center partners. To combat this opioid epidemic across Ohio, Drug Abuse Response Teams or Quick Response Teams will utilize a majority of the money.

Findlay Police Department will also be receiving $100,000. The Sidney Police Department, will be awarded $50,000.

These quick response teams have been formed for emergencies in the area. Mostly consisting of law enforcement officials who have a passion for combatting this epidemic and saving lives of those who desperately need it. After reviving overdose victims, these team members will go as far as to visit their patients in the hospital to ensure that they are doing well. Establishing a sense of community has a strong impact. They then will discuss treatment options with them to help them towards a sober future. Support is not only offered to overdose victims, but their families as well.

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