The Georgetown Police Department is implementing a new program to help those with drug addiction.
The Angel Program, which was launched Tuesday, allows Scott County drug addicts who voluntarily enter the police station and request help to be screened for treatment and placed in treatment. The addicts must relinquish their drugs and drug paraphernalia.
The program’s goal is to get someone into a local treatment center on the same day, with a volunteer supporting each person throughout the process and after treatment.
Meghan Shook, a victim’s advocate with the police department, said, “We want to make this an easy process for them. We want families who are struggling with nowhere else to go to be able to come in here and make the police department a place that people know will help them.”
Drug addicts are asked to come in between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. weekdays. If an addict comes at another time, police officers will try to get the addict help, but some treatment centers have trouble taking patients late at night or early in the morning, Shook said.
She is working with seven other Georgetown police officers to lead the program. The department is part of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, which helps local police departments with the opioid crisis nationwide.
Police Chief Mike Bosse said the drug epidemic is a serious problem in Georgetown for addicts and those who know them.
The program does have some legal barriers, Bosse said. A person with three drug-related arrests is barred from participating in the program.
Arrest warrants also are a problem, Shook said.
“One option would be, if you do have a warrant and you are arrested, ... we’re going to help pave the path for you to get into drug court,” she said.
The Angel Program is based on a program in Gloucester, Mass., launched in 2015. Since then, other communities have adopted versions of the Angel Program, including Jeffersontown, outside of Louisville.
Sgt. Brittney Garrett of the Jeffersontown Police Department said Jeffersontown’s Angel Program was implemented in August last year. It has allowed law enforcement to get involved in a new way to address the opioid problem.
Garrett said the police department helped 51 people in its first year. Jeffersontown’s population is about 28,000.