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Treatment, Not Jail: A New Approach to Handling Heroin Addiction in Illinois

December 8th, 2015 at 9:13 am

Illinois drug crimes attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinios criminal attorney, Heroin addiction in the United States is running rampant, with some areas of the country so affected by the prevalence of heroin addiction that the media often refers to it as a “heroin epidemic.” Heroin is very addictive and in recent years it has become popular to mix heroin with other high-enhancing drugs, which has led to an unfortunate and sobering number of deaths.

A New Approach: Treatment Programs, Instead of Jail Time

Police in small towns across Illinois are taking steps to try and help heroin addicts beat their addiction by providing assistance rather than punishment when addicts come forward seeking help. By working with addicts who want to get off heroin, police officers are getting these addicted individuals into detox facilities and into rehabilitation programs rather than putting them in jail. Addicts can even bring their drugs and paraphernalia to the police station for disposal, and the police will not press charges for heroin possession or possession of drug paraphernalia.

By targeting the demand for heroin, rather than trying to control the supply, law enforcement could be nipping the heroin problem in the bud. The model employed by Illinois police is modeled after a similar technique recently undertaken by police in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Areas in Illinois That Are Trying This Approach

After the police officers in Gloucester, Massachusetts were met with so much success when they rolled out their treatment instead of drug charges plan, other law enforcement took notice and began implementing their own version of this program. Some of the towns in Illinois that have adopted some form of this new approach to curbing heroin activity on the streets include:

  • Rolling Meadows. Rolling Meadows police offer the Second Chance-Heroin Amnesty Program, where heroin addicts can go to the Rolling Meadows police station for intervention assistance with opiate addiction.
  • Dixon. According to the Chicago Tribune, law enforcement in Dixon, Illinois has already successfully helped 20 individuals who have come forward seeking treatment for their heroin addiction. Dixon law enforcement was moved to make a change in how they were handling heroin cases when three people died of heroin overdose in February of 2015.

How Do These Programs Work?

The programs all share an overarching approach where an addict can come to a police station and request help with getting off heroin. The addict can bring any heroin, needles or other paraphernalia and turn it over to police, without risking having criminal drug charges raised. The program is explained to the heroin addict, and he or she is escorted to a rehab facility where he or she can get clean.

The system is not perfect. People seeking help must voluntarily show up to the police station and request help; a person cannot get arrested for heroin and then claim to want to participate in the rehabilitation program. Additionally, there are individuals who will voluntarily enter the rehab program who will ultimately relapse. But at least steps are being taken to try and address the core issue of addiction.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

To take advantage of these amnesty programs offered by local law enforcement, an individual must approach the police voluntarily. Being caught with drugs will not qualify you for the amnesty under these programs. If you are facing heroin charges, or any other criminal drug charges, please contact a passionate Rolling Meadows defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for an initial consultation on your case.

 

Sources:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2015/05/05/gloucester-cops-addicts-ask-for-help-and-won-arrest-you/9nrZEse0deDpPqt1t1VozI/story.html

http://www.ci.rolling-meadows.il.us/612/Second-Chance-Heroin-Amnesty-Program

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-heroin-addiction-police-help-met-20151108-story.html

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Written by Staff Writer

December 8th, 2015 at 9:13 am

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