LA PORTE COUNTY — The opioid crisis is hitting La Porte County hard.
That's why police and health professionals came up with a new program, Detox Now, to help addicts recover.
It follows the PAARI PATH program where addicts would be paired with a volunteer angel to guide through recovery.
But funding, transportation and finding a bed became big issues.
The new Detox Now program funded by a $633,000 grant from the Health Care Foundation of LaPorte County aims to eliminate those barriers to wellness.
La Porte Police Department Executive Captain Bill Degnegaard says opioids are the biggest concern in the county.
"You are starting to see more overdoses. We have been starting to see that for the last few years,” said Degnegaard.
Detox Now, a free program for all LaPorte County residents, is aiming to reverse that trend. It’s giving people access to treatment and recovery without the possibility of getting into trouble.
The police and fire departments, LaPorte hospital and Swanson Center are open to walk-ins asking for this help.
"We do not make an arrest. We actually tell them will not arrest you. Any drugs that you have or any paraphernalia will take into custody. We will destroy it and then we get you set up on the system,” said Degnegaard.
Hefty treatment costs and transportation are all covered.
Degnegaard says this program is helping officers turn scenes of tragedy into hope.
"The programs that we have in place now help officers because once they are approached and they are on scenes where there is an overdose, it gives them an outlet to help give people help. They can talk to the families and tell them this is what you can do to help your loved one,” said Degnegaard.
Daniel Peck is the CEO and Executive Director at the Swanson Center. He says Detox Now is getting substance abusers the help they need fast.
Time is of the utmost importance, he says, because in many cases severe addicts don't have time to wait.
“One of the things that has been so remarkable about the Detox Now program is that it is saving lives. When we talk to people who have completed the program and they've expressed their gratitude and saying ‘Had it been another day or two I wouldn't be here,’” said Peck.
Inpatient treatment is 28 days at Recovery Works in Merrillville. Then two options for outpatient care are Swanson Center and Frontline Foundations.
The grant will also follow the individual for up to two years to see how they are progressing and maintaining sobriety.
Detox Now is also looking for volunteer angels and more funding to ensure the program can continue.
If you need help, want to become an angel or can donate toward the program, contact the LaPorte Police Department at 219-362-9446 or Swanson Center at 219-879-4621.