The Police Department of Ashland, Kentucky has instituted a program designed to help the local people receive access to drug and alcohol treatment services instead of being incarcerated.
The Angel Program is what the Ashland Police Department will be instituting and Ashland will become the fourth city to implement this program and will be the first in Boyd County.
Ashland residents now have the opportunity to turn in their drugs into a local police station and a counselor will help them in locating the nearest drug and alcohol treatment center.
There were 30 drug-related overdoses in Boyd County in 2016, which was an increase from the 24 drug-related overdoses that were reported in 2015, according to the Commonwealth of Kentucky 2016 Overdose Fatality Report. The report also indicated that 1,404 drug-related deaths occurred in Kentucky in 2016, compared to 1,248 in 2015.
Ashland Police Chief Todd Kelley stated that the Angel Program has a hands-on method of providing an alternative to jail for people who have a substance use disorder.
Kelley stated that the program gives people the opportunity to come to the police department to obtain help finding drug and alcohol treatment. He also highlighted that drug traffickers will still be targeted and that they are not going easy on crime.
The only people that are not able to utilize this service are those who have outstanding warrants, multiple drug-associated convictions, or individuals who are juveniles and have not have obtained consent from their legal guardians.
There are currently six drug and alcohol treatment centers for the Ashland Police Department to choose from when recommending treatment for people, according to the 2017 National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Facilities.
One of those six treatment centers is Pathways, a substance abuse treatment center with locations across the country. Pathways have partnered with the Ashland Police Department to implement this initiative. The location in Ashland has nine beds and offers a program that lasts between 10 to 14 days.
Their core values to treating patients include respect, accessibility, empowerment, responsibility, competency, trust, and support. Its mission is to provide services in an affectionate and professional way. Their philosophy is to deliver a comprehensive package of prevention and drug and alcohol treatment services to meet community needs.
Judy Fowler, the addiction recovery program supervisor at Pathways, highlighted that she has seen the drug problem increase over the last two decades. She said that eight of the nine occupied beds contain people struggling with meth addiction.