Greenfield Police Department Program Aims to Help Heroin Addicts
It killed thousands of people over the last few years and it continues to ruin families. The heroin epidemic doesn't seem to be going away. Now, one local police department is going against traditional drug enforcement efforts in hopes of helping people who are addicted.
The CAARE's Program, or Cops Assisting Addiction Recovery Program, has been in place since the beginning of January. A family, who lost their loved one in 2012 to a Heroin overdose, is applauding this effort. CJ Lomas had gone through treatment a number of drug treatments. He was clean for six months after the most recent treatment, but something made him try Heroin again, and it cost him his life.
"What got in his head one night, in the midst of his recovery, that it would be okay to do this one more time, we don't know," said Charlie Lomas, CJ's father.
The addiction to Heroin is almost instant, and very difficult to get off of.
"I know that the amount of overdoses we're seeing in our city continues to rise," said Sergeant Chris DeGlopper with the Greenfield Police Department.
Now, Greenfield is breaking with tradition in how they handle drug addicts by starting the CAAREs program or Cops Assisting Addiction Recovery. It allows anyone who lives in Greenfield, or went to high school in Greenfield, to drop their drugs off no questions asked. They'll fill out forms and will be evaluated to see what kind of help they need. Around a half dozen are being helped since the program started.
"There's no tricks," Sgt. DeGlopper said. "We are serious about helping our community in dealing with this problem."
Charlie and Patti Lomas love that.
"Incarceration is not the answer here. We would just be putting addicts that need help in jail," Mr. Lomas added.
Anyone accused of non-violent crimes, and are found with opiates or Heroin on them, are also eligible for the CAARE's program. The department works folks at Aurora Healthcare, and others. The department has even offered to help pay for treatment. To find out more, you may contact Detective Sergeant DeGlopper at (414) 761-5345. The Lomas family started the "CJ Lomas Recovery Foundation," which is a 501c3 aimed at helping those who are addicted to opiates and Heroin. The family started that foundation in their son's memory back in 2012, and have helped dozens of people and their families. To learn more about their program, you can visit www.cjlomasrecoveryfoundation.org.