DIXON, Ill. — In its first two months, The Lee County Safe Passage Initiative has placed 25 willing and ready participants into addiction recovery centers around Illinois and the nation.
“This is a new day for law enforcement,” said Dixon Police Chief Danny Langloss. “Instead of seeing each other as enemies, police officers and people in the grip of addiction are walking together with one goal: getting better.”
As is often the case in the recovery process, left against medical advice during detox treatment and came back to the Dixon Police Department, where they were placed into treatment again. One of them successfully completed Detox and a 30 day in-patient treatment program, and is still in aftercare treatment today.
Of the 25 participants, 14 are male and 11 are female. There are 24 adults and one juvenile in treatment. Sixteen participants are under age 30, five are 31-40, and four are over age 40.
Chief Langloss and Lee County Sheriff John Simonton earlier this year collaborated with Safe Harbor of Lee County, as well as PRISM of Lee County, Lee County Health Department, Sinnissippi Centers, and KSB Hospital, State’s Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller, and A Man in Recovery Foundation of Naperville, Ill. to launch an addiction recovery forum. The Lee County Safe Passage Initiative: Police Giving Hope to Addicts Through the Tools For Recovery, an addiction recovery initiative modeled after the Gloucester, Mass. ANGEL Initiative, aimed at encouraging addicts to seek the help of police officers and sheriff’s deputies, who will in turn get them into treatment.
Seventeen people have been placed in detox programs. Five people have been placed directly to in-patient treatment, and three have been placed directly into intensive out-patient treatment. Six of the participants who were placed into detox were placed directly to in-patient treatment after completing detox.
Nearly all of participants have been treated for heroin or opioid addiction. The juvenile was treated for abusing marijuana, and one woman was treated for a severe crack cocaine addiction.
The Dixon Police Department and Lee County Sheriff have depended on invaluable partnerships with treatment centers, including Banyon Treatment Center in Florida, which has provided two complete scholarships for Safe Passage participants. Also, Sinnissippi Centers of Dixon has played a significant role in the coordination of care when participants arrive and are placed into treatment.
The majority, 21, participants, received treatment that was paid for by Illinois Medicaid.
In nearly all cases, the Safe Passage Initiative was able to secure a treatment bed for a participant within two hours.
“There are beds. There are treatment centers. There are people who want to help, and we are are simply making connections,” Sheriff Simonton said. “I am glad to see the level of support we have received, and I am proud of the 25 participants who have come forward so far.”
Safe Passage has 16 volunteer “Guides,” serving in a variety of roles. They provide support and establish rapport during the intake process, they provide transportation to the treatment facilities, and they follow-up with the participants through the treatment process. Many of the Guides are currently in recovery (sober for 1 year or more) or have a loved one who suffers from addiction.
Lee County has partnered with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), which is supplying its roster of treatment center partners across the country and a $2,500 grant to help offset transportation costs incurred by the Safe Passage Initiative.
P.A.A.R.I. was started to support local police departments as they work with opioid addicts. Rather than arrest our way out of the problem of drug addiction, P.A.A.R.I. committed police departments:
- Encourage opioid drug users to seek recovery
- Help distribute life saving opioid blocking drugs to prevent and treat overdoses
- Connect people suffering with opioid addiction with treatment programs and facilities
- Provide resources to other police departments and communities that want to do more to fight the opioid addiction epidemic
P.A.A.R.I. was created by Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello and John Rosenthal to bridge the gap between the police department and opioid addicts seeking recovery.
Dixon Police Department
Danny D. Langloss, Chief of Police
220 S. Hennepin Ave.
Dixon, IL 61021
Lee County Sheriff’s Department
Sheriff John Simonton
306 S. Hennepin Ave.
Dixon, Illinois 61021