Griffith police officer acts from the heart

The Griffith Police Department (pictured is Sgt. Sgt. Marlene Starcevich) has in recent months helped several local drug addicts get into treatment.

Northwest Indiana police departments have gotten several local residents into drug treatment in recent months.

Background

Over the past year and a half, five Northwest Indiana law enforcement agencies have started programs where drug addicts can, without fear of arrest, walk into the departments and be immediately connected with substance abuse treatment. This is in response to an opioid overdose epidemic that is killing several Region residents a month.

Those agencies are the Griffith, LaPorte, Michigan City and Schererville police departments and LaPorte County Sheriff's Office. All but Schererville are members of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, a Massachusetts-based organization that helps police departments find treatment for opioid addicts. The Schererville Police Department partners directly with Heartland Recovery Center in Lowell.

So far, Heartland says it has gotten nine individuals into treatment and connected six with family support services. Griffith police say they have placed seven people into a detox or treatment center, utilizing Recovery Works in Merrillville and Michiana Behavioral Health in Plymouth in addition to Heartland. LaPorte police say they have gotten six people into treatment (people seeking help for addiction in LaPorte can now go to any fire station in the city as well).

What's next

The programs will continue to operate, and participating law enforcement and drug treatment officials encourage other departments to get involved.

"The fact of the matter is that we are not making a large enough impact working separately," said Jaime Rogers, community relations director for Heartland Recovery Center. "But operating together and coordinating our efforts effectively we can and are making a difference."

Have an idea of a story for us to update? Send tips to newstips@nwi.com with Follow-up File in the subject line.

0
0
0
1
1

Health reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.