Hope Not Handcuffs: A Safe Way For Addicts to Seek Treatment

Hope Not Handcuffs: A Safe Way For Addicts to Seek Treatment

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - In 2017, Families Against Narcotics introduced a program called “Hope Not Handcuffs”. The goal of the program is to help people with a substance abuse problem receive treatment, rather than be incarcerated.

The Meridian Township Police Department and 13 other agencies in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties are adopting this program.

Lieutenant Rick Grillo, Services Division Commander for the Meridian Township Police Department, said that Families Against Narcotics found a helpful way to help addicts without them fearing legal repercussions.

“They found that there a lot of people who are hesitant to seek treatment, because they either had warrants or they were worried that the police were going to arrest them,” he said. “So they started this program that allows people who have addictions to come to the police station and admit that they have an issue and seek help.”

Lieutenant Grillo explained that once a person comes forward and requests help, the police direct that person to an “Angel”. The Angel’s role is to get the person in contact with someone who can offer them treatment.

There are some exceptions to qualifying for the program. Lieutenant Grillo said that if someone has a felony or domestic violence warrant, or the police believe the person could be a danger to others, they would not be eligible. Additionally, if they have a medical condition and may require hospitalization, they also would not be eligible.

The local police departments are working together to ensure that this program is executed smoothly and efficiently.

“When it came together and came up, everybody worked hard and worked together,” Lieutenant Grillo said. “Yes, it did take a while to get the program launched, but we have launched it and we are very excited to be participating.”

Lieutenant Grillo also stated that over 5000 people throughout Michigan and New York have been helped using this program since 2017.

“It’s good to know that people feel comfortable coming forward if they know they have a problem and making that connection with the police, because we really do want to help people,” he said.
If anyone still feels uncomfortable going to the police, they can submit an online request at www.familiesagainstnarcotics.org/hopenothandcuffs, and get connected directly to an Angel.


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