Monroe Police initiate program to assist those addicted to opiods

Emphasis is on treatment, not crime

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— The Monroe Police Department has started a new program called the Monroe Police “L.E.A.D.S.” Program.

“L.E.A.D.S.” is an acronym for Law Enforcement Assisted Drug Abuse Support.

Monroe Police Chief David Conklin said the program “is designed to encourage residents of the community who want to overcome their drug addiction to walk into the police station, turn over their drugs and paraphernalia and ask for help. They will not be arrested but instead, will be assisted in obtaining treatment, detox, rehab and recovery.”

The department has partnered with the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council of Orange County, which provided training in how to help someone who is addicted. Conklin said the department also has contacted several organizations who provide detox, rehab and/or treatment.

“The officers of the Monroe Police Department see first-hand the impact of addiction,” the chief said. “Those suffering from addiction feel hopeless and powerless to escape its grasp. We have seen the pain and suffering, lives ruined or ended too soon and we have seen families torn apart over it.

“Our goal is to reduce the impact of substance abuse by encouraging those who suffer from addiction to seek treatment and recovery to promote a healthier and safer community,” Conklin added. “Drug addiction is a disease, and those suffering need help. We at the Monroe Police Department believe that there is hope for recovery from addiction and we are here to help, not judge. The stigma associated with substance abuse and opiate addiction is over.”

The police chief said that “L.E.A.D.S.” “in no way diminishes the Police Department’s role in pursuing the arrest and conviction of those who sell and/or possess narcotics. Monroe Police, using their own resources and those made available by other agencies will continue our mission to get the drugs off our streets. In addition, we screen everyone we arrest for alcohol or drug related crimes and will provide them with the resources they need to seek assistance with their addiction.”

- Bob Quinn

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