Are you struggling with a drug addiction or have a family member who is struggling? A new program is in place that could help.
Hope Not Handcuffs is an initiative Families Against Narcotics (FAN) created to help drug addicts reduce dependency on heroin and prescription pain medicine. On May 31, a press conference was held to launch the initiative. “It’s an innovative way of dealing with addiction in our community,” says Judge Mark W. Latchana, a 67th District Court judge and president of FAN Genesee. “I am excited to see this roll out. We are going to make a big difference in our community with this program.”
According to Cheri Pfeiffer, FAN Executive Vice President for Genesee County, the idea is to help those who are battling with substance abuse receive treatment, rather than incarceration, by working in partnership with law enforcement agencies. Eleven departments in Genesee and Lapeer Counties have committed and are working with other organizations and numerous treatment facilities, to provide hope to those suffering from addiction without the fear of being arrested.
A person in need of help will be able to walk into a police station and ask for it, Cheri explains. If the person has any warrants, the department will have their own policy on how, or if, he or she will be prosecuted. And, FAN provides volunteer “Angels” who are available to help with paperwork and provide compassionate support to the addict until a treatment option is found.
Katie Donovan, FAN Vice President for Macomb County explained that Hope Not Handcuffs actually started in Macomb, and since its inception, 216 people have walked in seeking help. “Having the support of the community brings it to a whole new level,” she says.
“What we are doing now isn’t working,” says Lapeer County Sherriff, Scott McKenna, adding that it hurts to walk into the jail and see all the cells filled with people going through detox. “Addiction is a disease that needs to be treated, and you can’t treat it by putting someone in jail,” Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell admits. “I want to be a part of the solution to this problem. We have an epidemic and it’s time we face the problem and deal with it.”
“I am excited to see this roll out.
We are going to make a big difference in our community
with this program.”
About Families Against Narcotics Genesee County
FAN Genesee County Chapter was organized in response to the many area families that are being affected by a loved one’s drug addiction. Home to the City of Flint, one that is well known for its high crime rate and widespread drug problems, Genesee County has welcomed this chapter with open arms. Oftentimes, the families of addicts are left behind to suffer through this time alone, ashamed and stigmatized. FAN strives to provide the family, friends and recovering persons a place to come together and realize that they are not alone, that addiction is in fact a disease, and that it can be managed if everyone does their part.
“Our purpose is to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription narcotics, to reduce the stigma and to support those affected by addiction. Our mission is to save lives by empowering individuals and communities through education, to prevent and someday eradicate addiction. Through our Real People Sharing Real Stories program, we reduce the stigma attached to addiction and create an open forum for families and professionals to receive valuable insight. By partnering with insurance companies, medical professionals, legislators, the legal community, public safety, schools and other organizations, we hope to facilitate change in the way addiction is viewed and treated.”
Source: Families Against Narcotics Genesee County.