LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — If you are addicted to drugs, the last person you may want to see is a police officer, but in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, police are encouraging drug users to come on down to the police department and even bring their drugs with them.
“If you are wanting to rid yourself of any residual narcotics or opiates can be turned into the officer, the officer will recover them destroy them and there will be no criminal charges,” Lee’s Summit Police Sgt. Chris Depue said.
The police department believes it’s the only in the area offering the drug amnesty drop off as part of a bigger program called Safe Passage.
Anyone can show up 24-7 at the police department seeking a clear path towards recovery from substance addiction.
“I think it represents a shift in the way that law enforcement sees this. Coupled with drug enforcement you also have to have that treatment and recovery side for people that want to help themselves,” Depue said.
Lee’s Summit police partner with ReDiscover on the rehab program. An officer often drives the substance user to a center where they assess if the person needs in or outpatient treatment. The program is 100% voluntary.
Depue said the program is eliminating common barriers to treatment. Some people are worried about outstanding warrants, which can be waved for non-violent felonies. Through a grant even if you don’t have insurance the drug treatment program is completely free.
“Why not head that off at the pass and deal with it prior to it ending up in court and punishment? Why not work on prevention and treatment if we can and be at least a gateway to that service?” Depue asked.
With mental health calls in Lee’s Summit up 80% during the pandemic, many intertwined with drug dependency, Depue said he’s sure the program could be utilized even more. If people take the first step.
The police department gets between 50 and 75 Safe Passage participants annually, but there’s no cap. As of now you don’t have to live in Lee’s Summit to take police up on the offer for free help and drug amnesty.
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