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Office of Will County Executive
Lawrence M. Walsh
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
For more information, contact:
Phone: 815-530-2372; Fax: 815-774-3671

Will County Safe Passage Initiative

New program to connect opiate users with treatment

     The Will County Executive’s Office is pleased to announce the launch of the Will County Safe Passage Initiative, another critical strategy to reduce the number of heroin deaths in the county. The Mokena Police Department, the Lockport Police Department, the Lemont Police Department, A Man in Recovery Foundation, and Strategic Prevention are working together to establish the Safe Passage Initiative that will connect opiate users with treatment providers.

     Through the Will County Safe Passage Initiative, any resident who is fighting an opiate addiction can go to one of these police departments and ask for help. The individual will be connected with a volunteer from A Man in Recovery Foundation who will escort the person to a DASA-accredited treatment center. The Safe Passage Initiative will offer assistance to any resident suffering from an addiction to opiates or prescription drugs. The program is being piloted through the Mokena, Lockport, and Lemont police departments. Dr. Kathleen Burke with Strategic Prevention is coordinating the program on behalf of the County Executive’s office.

 

     “I applaud Chief Vaccaro (Mokena), Chief Lemming (Lockport), and Chief Maton (Lemont) for leading this initiative,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “Heroin is deadlier than ever. We will continue our efforts to educate our children about the dangers of opioids and train our law enforcement officials on how to use Narcan to save lives. This program will be another important tool in this critical fight to reduce opioid deaths in Will County.”

          Vaccaro, Lemming, and Maton have seen firsthand the effects of substance abuse in their communities. All of these chiefs are proud to lead the initiative to offer this program as another avenue to help those battling opiate addiction.

     “As law enforcement officials, we have learned we cannot arrest our way out of this problem,” Vaccaro said. “In Mokena, we are proud to work with the county to establish this Safe Passage program. We want to help people dealing with the disease of addiction, not lock them up.”

     Lemming agrees and understands the impact on drug addiction on an entire community.                                                                                    

       “Just as night follows day, violence and property crimes follow drug use, availability, and abuse,” said Lemming. “This program provides immediate access to treatment for anyone seeking it. We should see crime rates going down when help is provided.”

    “The face of a drug abuser has changed dramatically over the past ten years,” Maton said. “It can be the boy or girl next door. It can be a family member. Almost everyone knows someone who is battling this disease of addiction.”

     Plans are to expand this initiative to all police departments within Will County by the end of the year.

     Any resident who is dealing with drug addiction can go into the Mokena Police Department (708) 479-3911, the Lockport Police Department (815) 838-2132, or the Lemont Police Department (630) 257-2229 during department hours and ask for help. A law enforcement official will connect the individual with a volunteer from the A Man in Recovery Foundation who will come to the police department and escort the individual directly to a pre-arranged treatment location.

     For more information on this program, contact the Will County Executive’s Office at

(815) 722-5515.

    

 

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