For the first time ever, more people in Michigan died from overdosing than in car crashes last year.
Opioid and heroin addictions are the largest growing drug problems in state, now one police agency is starting a new program to help turn things around.
The Michigan State Police Gaylord Post will be the first state police agency in the country to offer this program.
It uses everyday people, or volunteer "Angels" to help people walk the road to recovery.
“It’s designed for someone that’s dependent upon drugs, if they want to quit their addiction,” said Gaylord MSP Trooper Corey Hebner. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be for an opiate-based painkiller or for heroin. It can be for any drug.”
If you have a drug addiction, or want to help those who do…
You can simply walk into the Michigan State Police Gaylord Post and ask about getting into the angel program.
It’s a diversion treatment program to help without threat of arrest or prosecution.
“They’re gonna be people that are screened that have a need to want to try to help people. They just have to be people that want to make a difference in their community and in someone’s life.”
Tom McHale helped train some recovery coaches who will serve as future angels.
“I have an addiction, an alcohol addiction. I haven’t had a drink in 28 years. But I do know if I was to pick up a beer thinking I’m going to be fine, I could really be risking my own recovery by doing that,” NMSAS Recovery Center Peer Recovery Coach Coordinator McHale said.
The state police post is looking for 40-50 volunteers to serve as Angels.
They’ll work one on one with addicts who want help.
“Once you start it’s very difficult to quit. That’s why you have to wait for that right moment where you have the courage and resources in order to venture down that road. It’s really difficult.”
Police hope the Angel Program will spread across the state in two to three years.
“Within six months, we want to expand this from the Gaylord post to the whole seventh district, which is the 19 counties in Northern Michigan,” Hebner said. “Within a year they want to expand this to the Upper Peninsula as well.”
Michigan State Police will hold a press conference September 22 at Boyne Mountain to give the public more information on the program. It will officially kick off at a later date in October.
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